Group publications from Radiation Oncology and Biology
Many tumors contain extensive regions of hypoxia. Because hypoxic cells are markedly more resistant to killing by radiation, repeated attempts have been made to improve the oxygenation of tumors to enhance radiotherapy. We have studied the oxygenation of tumor xenografts in nude mice after treatment with the farnesyltransferase inhibitor L744,832. Hypoxia was assessed by measuring the binding of the hypoxic cell marker pentafluorinated 2-nitroimidazole. We show that xenografts from two tumor cell lines with mutations in H-ras had markedly improved oxygenation after farnesyltransferase treatment. In contrast, xenografts from two tumors without ras mutations had equivalent hypoxia regardless of treatment. The effect on tumor oxygenation could be detected at 3 days and remained after 7 days of treatment. These results indicate that treatment with farnesyltransferase inhibitors can alter the oxygenation of certain tumors and suggest that such treatment might be useful in the radiosensitization of these tumors.
The critical pathways determining the resistance of tumor cells to ionizing radiation are poorly defined. Because the ras oncogene, a gene activated in manyhuman cancers treated with radiotherapy, can induce increased radioresistance, we have asked which Ras effector pathways are significant in conferring a survival advantage to tumor cells. The phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor LY294002 radiosensitized cells bearing mutant ras oncogenes, but the survival of cells with wild-type ras was not affected. Inhibition of the PI3K downstream target p70S6K by rapamycin, the Raf-MEK-MAPK pathway with PD98059, or the Ras-MEK kinase-p38 pathway with SB203580 had no effect on radiation survival in cells with oncogenic ras. Expression of active PI3K in cells with wild-type ras resulted in increased radiation resistance that could be inhibited by LY294002. These experiments have indicated the importance of PI3K in mediating enhanced radioresistance and have implicated PI3K as a potential target for specific radiosensitization of tumors.
A Phase I trial of the farnesyltransferase inhibitor L-778,123 and radiotherapy for locally advanced lung and head and neck cancer.
PURPOSE: Preclinical data have demonstrated that farnesyltransferaseinhibitors (FTIs) are radiation sensitizers in selected cell lines. The objective of this Phase I trial was to determine the maximally tolerated dose of the FTI L-778,123in combination with radiotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and head and neck cancer (HNC). EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: L-778,123 was given by continuous i.v. infusion and dose escalated in conjunction with standard radiotherapy. The presence of a ras mutation was not required for study entry. RESULTS: Nine patients (six NSCLC patients and three HNC patients) were enrolled on two dose levels of FTI. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed at the first dose levelof 280 mg/m2/day during weeks 1, 2, 4, and 5 of radiotherapy. One episode of dose-limiting toxicity, grade IV neutropenia, was observed in one of three patients treated at 560 mg/m2/day during weeks 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7. No episodes ofdose-limiting mucositis, esophagitis, or pneumonitis were observed. Of the four patients with NSCLC with evaluable disease, three patients had a complete response to treatment and one patient had a partial response. A complete clinical response to treatment was observed in two patients with HNC. In vitro studies intumor cells obtained from a NSCLC patient on this trial showed radiosensitization with FTI and that tumor cells accumulated in G2-M after L-778,123 treatment. CONCLUSIONS: The combination of L-778,123 and radiotherapy at dose level 1 is associated with acceptable toxicity. Local responses have been observed in four NSCLC patients without a clear increase in radiotherapy-associated toxicities.
The role of the p53 protein (encoded by TP53) in tumour suppression relies partly on the ability of p53 to regulate the transcription of genes that are important in cell-cycle arrest and in apoptosis. But the apoptotic pathway mediated by p53is not fully understood. Here we show that BID, a member of the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family of proteins, is regulated by p53. BID mRNA is increased in a p53-dependent manner in vitro and in vivo, with strong expression in the splenicred pulp and colonic epithelium of gamma-irradiated mice. Both the human and themouse BID genomic loci contain p53-binding DNA response elements that bind p53 and mediate p53-dependent transactivation of a reporter gene. In addition, BID-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts are more resistant than are wild-type fibroblasts to the DNA damaging agent adriamycin and the nucleotide analogue 5-fluorouracil, both of which stabilize endogenous p53. Our results indicate that BID is a p53-responsive 'chemosensitivity gene' that may enhance the cell death response to chemotherapy.
A phase I trial of the dual farnesyltransferase and geranylgeranyltransferase inhibitor L-778,123 and radiotherapy for locally advanced pancreatic cancer.
PURPOSE: Preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated that inhibition of prenylation can radiosensitize cell lines with activation of Ras and produce clinical response in patients with cancer. The aim of this study was to determine the maximally tolerated dose of the dual farnesyltransferase and geranylgeranyltransferase I inhibitor L-778,123 in combination with radiotherapyfor patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: L-778,123 was given by continuous intravenous infusion with concomitant radiotherapy to 59.4 Gy in standard fractions. Two L-778,123 dose levels were tested: 280 mg/m2/day over weeks 1, 2, 4, and 5 for dose level 1; and 560 mg/m2/day over weeks 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7 for dose level 2. RESULTS: There were no dose-limiting toxicities observed in the eight patients treated on dose level 1.Two of the four patients on dose level 2 experienced dose-limiting toxicities consisting of grade 3 diarrhea in one case and grade 3 gastrointestinal hemorrhage associated with grade 3 thrombocytopenia and neutropenia in the othercase. Other common toxicities were mild neutropenia, dehydration, hyperglycemia,and nausea/vomiting. One patient on dose level 1 showed a partial response of 6 months in duration. Both reversible inhibition of HDJ2 farnesylation and radiosensitization of a study patient-derived cell line were demonstrated in thepresence of L-778,123. K-RAS mutations were found in three of the four patients evaluated. CONCLUSIONS: The combination of L-778,123 and radiotherapy at dose level 1 showed acceptable toxicity in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer. Radiosensitization of a patient-derived pancreatic cancer cell line was observed.
p53-dependent apoptosis is a major determinant of its tumor suppressor activity and can be triggered by hypoxia. No p53 target is known to be induced by p53 or to mediate p53-dependent apoptosis during hypoxia. We report that p53 can directly upregulate expression of Bnip3L, a cell death inducer. During hypoxia, Bnip3L is highly induced in wild-type p53-expressing cells, in part due to increased recruitment of p53 and CBP to Bnip3L. Apoptosis is reduced in hypoxia-exposed cells with functional p53 following Bnip3L knockdown. In vivo, Bnip3L knockdown promotes tumorigenicity of wild-type versus mutant p53-expressing tumors. Thus, Bnip3L, capable of attenuating tumorigenicity, mediates p53-dependent apoptosis under hypoxia, which provides a novel understanding of p53 in tumor suppression.
DR5 (also called TRAIL receptor 2 and KILLER) is an apoptosis-inducing membrane receptor for tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (also called TRAIL and Apo2 ligand). DR5 is a transcriptional target of p53, and its overexpression induces cell death in vitro. However, the in vivo biology of DR5 has remained largely unexplored. To better understand the role of DR5 in development and in adult tissues, we have created a knockout mouse lacking DR5. This mouse is viable and develops normally with the exception of having an enlarged thymus. We show that DR5 is not expressed in developing embryos but is present in the decidua and chorion early in development. DR5-null mouse embryo fibroblasts expressing E1A are resistant to treatment with TRAIL, suggesting that DR5 may be the primary proapoptotic receptor for TRAIL in the mouse. When exposed to ionizing radiation, DR5-null tissues exhibit reduced amounts of apoptosis compared to wild-type thymus, spleen, Peyer's patches, and the white matter of the brain. In the ileum, colon, and stomach, DR5 deficiency was associated with a subtle phenotype of radiation-induced cell death. These results indicate that DR5 has a limited role during embryogenesis and early stages of development but plays an organ-specific role in the response to DNA-damaging stimuli.
Farnesyltransferase inhibitors: an overview of the results of preclinical and clinical investigations.
This article presents an overview of preclinical studies and clinical trials of a number of independently derived farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs). Potentialtargets and biological modes of action of FTIs are discussed, and the results ofclinical trials are summarized. The significant efficacy of FTIs as single or combined agents in preclinical studies stands in contrast with only moderate effects in clinical Phase II-III trials. These results reveal a substantial gap in the understanding of the complex activity of FTIs and their interactions withcytotoxic agents. We conclude that the rational combination of FTIs with other therapies, taking into account the biological activities of the individual agents, may improve the clinical results obtained with FTIs.
Radiotherapy is used to treat approximately 60% of solid tumors in the US. The relative radiosensitivity of these tumors can have a significant impact upon local control. One factor that has been shown to contribute to the increased survival of tumor cells is the activation of signaling pathways in which oncogene products play a central role. The Ras oncoprotein family, comprised of H-, K-, and N-Ras are frequently activated by mutation in certain tumors such as pancreatic and non-small cell lung cancers and are activated by receptor tyrosine kinase activity in an even wider range of tumor types. The role of ras mutation and more recently Ras signaling has been an area of intense study in both radiobiology and tumor biology in general. In this review, we focus on findings from our lab and others that led to the current hypotheses relating to the role of Ras signaling in tumor radiation survival and the strategies used to block Ras activation. We will also point out new means of studying the contribution of Rasand Ras pathway components that could contribute to defining new targets for inhibition in the context of radiation therapy.
Effects of hyperbaric oxygen exposure on experimental head and neck tumor growth, oxygenation, and vasculature.
BACKGROUND: Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) is used to promote healing in irradiated tissues, but concern persists about the possibility that it may promote residualtumor growth. METHODS: The tumor growth of SQ20B and Detroit 562 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma xenografts were studied after single-dose irradiation and 5x/week HBO2 treatment at 2.4 atm absolute for 90 minutes. The effect of HBO2 treatment on tumor hypoxia and vasculature was also examined by immunohistochemical analysis. RESULTS: HBO2 treatment increased tumor oxygenation during the treatment interval but did not promote the growth of either irradiated or unirradiated tumors. No increase in tumor vascular endothelial growth factor expression or vascularization was detected. CONCLUSIONS: This study found no evidence for persistent changes in tumor microenvironment or tumor growth promotion caused by hyperbaric oxygen exposure.
Selective inhibition of Ras, phosphoinositide 3 kinase, and Akt isoforms increases the radiosensitivity of human carcinoma cell lines.
Ras activation promotes the survival of tumor cells after DNA damage. To reversethis survival advantage, Ras signaling has been targeted for inhibition. Other contributors to Ras-mediated DNA damage survival have been identified using pharmacologic inhibition of signaling, but this approach is limited by the specificity of the inhibitors used and their toxicity. To better define components of Ras signaling that could be inhibited in a clinical setting, RNA interference was used to selectively block expression of specific isoforms of Ras, phosphoinositide 3 (PI3) kinase, and Akt. Inhibition of oncogenic Ras expression decreased both phospho-Akt and phospho-p42/44 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase levels and reduced clonogenic survival. Because pharmacologic inhibition of PI3 kinases and Akt radiosensitized cell lines with active Ras signaling, whereas inhibition of the MAP/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinase/ERK pathway did not, we examined the contribution of PI3 kinases and Akts to radiation survival. Selective inhibitionthe PI3 kinase P110alpha + p85beta isoforms reduced Akt phosphorylation and radiation survival. Similarly, inhibition of Akt-1 reduced tumor cell radiation survival. Inhibition of Akt-2 or Akt-3 had less effect. Retroviral transduction and overexpression of mouse Akt-1 was shown to rescue cells from inhibition of endogenous human Akt-1 expression. This study shows that Ras signaling to the PI3 kinase-Akt pathway is an important contributor to survival, whether Ras activation results from mutation of ras or overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor. This study further shows that selective inhibition of the PI3 kinase P110alpha + p85beta isoforms or Akt-1 could be a viable approach to sensitizing many tumor cells to cytotoxic therapies.
Activating K-ras mutations are found in approximately 90% of pancreatic carcinomas and may contribute to the poor prognosis of these tumors. Because radiotherapy is frequently used in pancreatic cancer treatment, we assessed the contribution of oncogenic K-ras signaling to pancreatic cancer radiosensitivity.Seven human pancreatic carcinoma lines with activated K-ras and two cell lines with wild-type ras were used to examine clonogenic cell survival after Ras inhibition. Ras inhibition was accomplished by small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown of K-ras expression and by blocking Ras processing using a panel of prenyltransferase inhibitors of differing specificity for the two prenyltransferases that modify K-Ras. K-ras knockdown by siRNA or inhibition of prenyltransferase activity resulted in radiation sensitization in vitro and in vivo in tumors with oncogenic K-ras mutations. Inhibition of farnesyltransferasealone was sufficient to radiosensitize most K-ras mutant tumors, although K-Ras prenylation was not blocked. These results show that inhibition of activated K-Ras can promote radiation killing of pancreatic carcinoma in a superadditive manner. The finding that farnesyltransferase inhibition alone radiosensitizes tumors with K-ras mutations implies that a farnesyltransferase inhibitor-sensitive protein other than K-Ras may contribute to survival in the context of mutant K-ras. Farnesyltransferase inhibitors could therefore be of use as sensitizers for pancreatic carcinoma radiotherapy.
Caveolin-1 (Cav-1) is an integral transmembrane protein and a critical componentin interactions of integrin receptors with cytoskeleton-associated and signalingmolecules. Since integrin-mediated cell adhesion generates signals conferring radiation resistance, we examined the effects of small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of Cav-1 alone or in combination with beta1-integrin or focal adhesionkinase (FAK) on radiation survival and proliferation of pancreatic carcinoma cell lines. Irradiation induced Cav-1 expression in PATU8902, MiaPaCa2 and Panc1 celllines. The cell lines showed significant radiosensitization after knockdown of Cav-1, beta1-integrin or FAK and cholesterol depletion by beta-cyclodextrin relative to nonspecific controls. Under knockdown conditions, proliferation of non-irradiated and irradiated cells was significantly attenuated relative to controls. These findings correlated with changes in expression or phosphorylation of Akt, glycogen synthase kinase 3beta, Paxillin, Src, c-Jun N-terminal kinase and mitogen-activated protein kinase. Analysis of DNA microarray data revealed aCav-1 overexpression in a subset of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma samples. The data presented show, for the first time, that disruption of interactions of Cav-1 with beta1-integrin or FAK affects radiation survival and proliferation of pancreatic carcinoma cells and suggest that Cav-1 is critical to these processes. These results indicate that strategies targeting Cav-1 may be useful as an approach to improve conventional therapies, including radiotherapy, for pancreatic cancer.Oncogene advance online publication, 30 April 2007; doi:10.1038/sj.onc.1210498.
Oncogenic K-Ras signals through epidermal growth factor receptor and wild-type H-Ras to promote radiation survival in pancreatic and colorectal carcinoma cells.
Pancreatic and colorectal carcinomas frequently express oncogenic/mutant K-Ras that contributes to both tumorigenesis and clinically observed resistance to radiation treatment. We have previously shown that farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTI) radiosensitize many pancreatic and colorectal cancer cell lines that express oncogenic K-ras at doses that inhibit the prenylation and activation of H-Ras but not K-Ras. In the present study, we have examined the mechanism of FTI-mediated radiosensitization in cell lines that express oncogenic K-Ras and found that wild-type H-Ras is a contributor to radiation survival in tumor cellsthat express oncogenic K-Ras. In these experiments, inhibiting the expression ofoncogenic K-Ras, wild-type H-Ras, or epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) ledto similar levels of radiosensitization as treatment with the FTI tipifarnib. Treatment with the EGFR inhibitor gefitinib led to similar levels of radiosensitization, and the combinations of tipifarnib or gefitinib plus inhibition of K-Ras, H-Ras, or EGFR expression did not provide additional radiosensitization compared with tipifarnib or gefitinib alone. Finally, supplementing culture medium with the EGFR ligand transforming growth factor alpha was able to reverse the radiosensitizing effect of inhibiting K-ras expression. Taken together, these findings suggest that EGFR-activated H-Ras signaling is initiated by oncogenic K-Ras to promote radiation survival in pancreatic and colorectal cancers.
Primary resection versus neoadjuvant chemoradiation followed by resection for locally resectable or potentially resectable pancreatic carcinoma without distant metastasis. A multi-centre prospectively randomised phase II-study of the Interdisciplinary Working Group Gastrointestinal Tumours (AIO, ARO, and CAO).
BACKGROUND: The disappointing results of surgical therapy alone of ductal pancreatic cancer can only be improved using multimodal approaches. In contrast to adjuvant therapy, neoadjuvant chemoradiation is able to facilitate resectability with free margins and to lower lymphatic spread. Another advantageis better tolerability which consecutively allows applying multimodal treatment in a higher number of patients. Furthermore, the synopsis of the overall survival results of neoadjuvant trials suggests a higher rate compared to adjuvant trials. METHODS/DESIGN: As there are no prospectively randomised studies for neoadjuvanttherapy, the Interdisciplinary Study Group of Gastrointestinal Tumours of the German Cancer Aid has started such a trial. The study investigates the effect ofneoadjuvant chemoradiation in locally resectable or probably resectable cancer of the pancreatic head without distant metastasis on median overall survival time compared to primary surgery. Adjuvant chemotherapy is integrated into both arms.DISCUSSION: The protocol of the study is presented in condensed form after an introducing survey on adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapy in pancreatic cancer.
Large topographic variability of upper abdominal lymphatics and the consequences for radiation treatment planning.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Inclusion of regional lymph nodes usually is indicated when treating upper gastrointestinal malignancies. Lymphatics follow the large vessels of this region. Vascular variability with consequences for planning treatment volume (PTV) was studied. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Upper abdominal metric relationship of the vascular origins was analysed in CT scans in 104 patients toestimate its influence on PTV variability. PTV volumes were calculated based on these. Additionally, the PTV size of 3D plans of 34 patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) was analysed depending on different PTV definitions. RESULTS: Vascular origin varied most for the inferior mesenteric artery (IMA) with substantial PTV size differences. Volumetric variability was analysed for PDAC (IMA versus renal hilum as caudal margin). Additional PTV for IMA was < 100cc (median) but ranged up to 350 cc in CT (100-199 ml in 14/34 and > 200 ml in 3/34 patients). Data from treatment planning confirmed this observation. CONCLUSIONS: Considerable vascular and lymphatic variability obliges to base PTVon the individual vascular anatomy. For most patients the caudal PTV margin for PDAC can safely be set at the IMA. But PTV should be restricted when the additional volume would lead to a significant increase to avoid haematotoxicity from concomitant gemcitabine which is proportional with PTV size. The risk of kidney toxicity is also subject to PTV expansion in the caudal direction.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Stereotactic radiation therapy and radiosurgery (STS) might be useful for focused treatment in orthotopic tumor models or to evaluate normal tissues. Spatial accuracy of dose-delivery is crucial and needs to be proven. This study intended to show on a molecular level precision of STS using the radiation activated molecule phospho-serine 1981-ATM (ATMpS1981). PATIENTS AND METHODS: Wistar rats underwent MRI fused with CT for treatment with a NOVALIStrade mark (BrainLab) STS device. Rats (body weight = 350 g, respectively) were irradiated with 2 Gy to selected areas of the brain, the lung, the liver, and the pancreas. Animals were sacrificed 1h after STS and organs were explantedfor pathohistological workup. Coronal HE-stained sections of treated organs werematched with coronal MRI and CT reconstructions and isodose distributions of STS. Immunofluorescence signal expression in the nuclei after incubation with anti-ATMpS1981 antibody was compared to the target volume of STS. RESULTS: Threeconsecutive animals were treated with STS using 2 Gy single dose which resulted in no apparent changes on HE staining but obvious immunofluorescence signals in irradiated regions. In concordance with isodose distributions these signals had a maximum intensity within the 90% isodose and gradually decreased to a backgroundlevel with very low nuclear immunofluorescence signals for ATMpS1981. These results were consistent throughout all of the four investigated organs (brain, lung, liver, pancreas) and could be repeated in all of the investigated animals.CONCLUSIONS: ATMpS1981 immunofluorescence confirms accuracy of STS allowing for partial organ irradiation in small animals. It can be used for quality assurancein STS treatment of normal tissue or orthotopic tumor models.
Definition of elective lymphatic target volume in ductal carcinoma of the pancreatic head based on histopathologic analysis.
PURPOSE: In chemoradiation for pancreatic carcinoma three-dimensional target volume definitions could maximize tolerability and therapeutic effect at the same time because toxicity correlates with treatment volume. We aimed to define guidelines for elective treatment of nodal areas based on pathologic nodal involvement to optimize treatment volume for this tumor. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Pathologic patterns of regional nodal spread in 175 patients who underwent primary pancreatoduodenectomy with > or =10 assessed nodes and literature data on para-aortic spread were the base of the definition of the target volume. Significant correlations between spread to lymphatic areas and tumor characteristics were determined using Fisher's exact test. Computed tomography scans and a Pinnacle3 (Philips, Best, The Netherlands) system were used for treatment planning. RESULTS: Among 175 resected tumors without pretreatment, 76%had regional nodal metastasis and 22% had spread to distant nodes. High-risk lymphatic areas were identified and selected for elective treatment. A standardized planning procedure was derived and tested under treatment conditions. CONCLUSIONS: Histopathologic data allowed us to develop recommendations for standardized treatment planning for ductal carcinoma of the pancreatic head. These are proposed for quality assurance in multicenter studiesand routine use.
Successful growth and characterization of mouse pancreatic ductal cells: functional properties of the Ki-RAS(G12V) oncogene.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: The Ki-RAS oncogene is altered in pancreatic ductal neoplasms. Pancreatic ductal cells (PDCs) were purified from cytokeratin 19 (K19)-Ki-RAS(G12V) transgenic mice and control littermates to identify properties of Ki-Ras activation in a cell-type-specific context. Because Ki-RAS mutation has prognostic significance in patients treated with radiation, we studied the influence of Ki-RAS status on radiation survival. METHODS: Pancreatic ductal fragments from mice with Ki-RAS(G12V) mutation or wild-type (WT)-Ki-RAS were cultured. Growth curves, electron microscopy, flow cytometry, and analysis of signaling and cell-cycle proteins were established. Farnesyltransferase inhibitor (FTI) treatment with R115777 before and after irradiation was used to determine the effect of Ki-Ras farnesylation on cell survival. RESULTS: PDCs from WT and K19-Ki-RAS(G12V) mice had features of ductal cells with formation of 3-dimensional structures on collagen without differences in morphology, growth, and cell-cycle distribution. This may result from up-regulation of p16INK4 and p27(Kip1) and lack of hyperstimulation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway in Ki-RAS(G12V) PDCs. No differences in radiation survival between Ki-RAS(G12V) PDCs and WT PDCs were observed. However, Ki-RAS(G12V) PDCs expressing mutant p53(V143A) had enhanced survival compared with WT PDCs transduced with p53(V143A). R115777 treatment sensitized Ki-RAS(G12V) PDCs and Ki-RAS(G12V)/p53(V143A) PDCs, but not WT PDCs. CONCLUSIONS: Novel characterization of murine WT PDCs and Ki-RAS(G12V) PDCs is described. Inductionof cell-cycle regulators and lack of mitogen-activated protein kinase hyperstimulation likely are responsible for constraining activated Ki-RAS(G12V)-mediated proliferation. Because its activation was required for sensitization by an FTI, R115777 may be useful against pancreatic tumors expressing oncogenic Ki-Ras.
PURPOSE: The inhibition of activated Ras combined with radiotherapy was identified as a potential method for radiosensitization. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Immunoblotting was used to control for prenylation inhibition of the respective Ras isoforms and for changes in activity of downstream proteins. Clonogenic assays with human and rodent tumour cell lines and transfected cell lines servedfor the testing of radiosensitivity. Xenograft tumours were treated with farnesyl transferase inhibitors and radiation and assayed for ex vivo plating efficiency,regrowth of tumours and EF5 staining for detection of hypoxia. Concurrent treatment with L-778,123 and radiotherapy was performed in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and head and neck cancer (HNC) patients. RESULTS: Blocking the prenylation of Ras proteins in cell lines with Ras activated by mutations or receptor signalling resulted in radiation sensitization in in vitro and in vivo.The PI3 kinase downstream pathway was identified as a contributor to Ras-mediated radiation resistance. Additionally, increased oxygenation of xenograft tumours was observed after FTI treatment. Combined treatment in a phase I study was safeand effective in NSCLC and HNC. CONCLUSIONS: Tumour cells with activated Ras were sensitized to radiation. Unravelling the underlying mechanisms promises to lead to even more specific drugs with higher potency and safety.
Phase I trial of strictly time-scheduled gemcitabine and cisplatin with concurrent radiotherapy in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer.
PURPOSE: Maximal therapeutic gain in xenograft sarcoma and toxicity for jejunal mucosa is time dependent for concurrent gemcitabine and radiotherapy (RT). We used a time-dependent schedule to determine the maximal-tolerated dose and dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs; Grade 4 hematologic or Grade 3 other toxicity). METHODS AND MATERIALS: Patients with pancreatic cancer (n = 33), periampullary carcinoma (n = 1), or bile duct cancer (n = 2) were treated with 3-day conformalRT with 50.4 Gy (tumor, lymphatics) plus a 5.4-Gy boost. Concurrent cisplatin (20 mg/m(2)/d on Days 1-5 and 29-33) and gemcitabine (initially 600 mg/m(2), weekly on Fridays 68 h before RT) were administered. Because of DLT, the doses were reduced to 500 mg/m(2) weekly and then 500, 400, or 300 mg/m(2) on Days 2, 5, 26, 33. RESULTS: DLT occurred at all dose levels of gemcitabine >300 mg/m(2). Fourteen patients were treated at the recommended Phase II dose of gemcitabine (300 mg/m(2)) without DLT. The response to chemoradiation allowed 10 of 30 initially unresectable patients with primary pancreatic carcinoma to undergo radical surgery, including a complete response in 2 cases. CONCLUSIONS: At the recommended Phase II dose, chemoradiation with gemcitabine and cisplatin can be administered safely in pancreatic carcinoma. However, at higher dose levels, toxicity is severe and frequent. Patients with a chance for conversion to resection could benefit from this schedule.
Recent studies have indicated the existence of tumorigenesis barriers that slow or inhibit the progression of preneoplastic lesions to neoplasia. One such barrier involves DNA replication stress, which leads to activation of the DNA damage checkpoint and thereby to apoptosis or cell cycle arrest, whereas a second barrier is mediated by oncogene-induced senescence. The relationship between these two barriers, if any, has not been elucidated. Here we show that oncogene-induced senescence is associated with signs of DNA replication stress, including prematurely terminated DNA replication forks and DNA double-strand breaks. Inhibiting the DNA double-strand break response kinase ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) suppressed the induction of senescence and in a mouse model led to increased tumour size and invasiveness. Analysis of human precancerous lesions further indicated that DNA damage and senescence markers cosegregate closely. Thus, senescence in human preneoplastic lesions is a manifestation of oncogene-induced DNA replication stress and, together with apoptosis, provides a barrier to malignant progression.
The XRCC3 variant T241M, but not D213N, has been reported to be associated with an increased risk of some cancers. XRCC3 is one out of five RAD51 paralogues andis involved in homologous recombination, as are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 proteins. However, in contrast to mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, the XRCC3(T241M) protein is proficient in homologous recombination and reverts sensitivity to mitomycin C found in XRCC3-deficient cells, whereas XRCC3(D213N) is defective in homologous recombination. Here, we report that both the XRCC3 D213N and T241M alleles are associated with an increase in centrosome number and binucleated cells. However,only the D213N allele gives an increase in spontaneous levels of apoptosis. We suggest that the inability of XRCC3 T241M to apoptotically eliminate aberrant cells with mitotic defects could increase cancer susceptibility in individuals carrying this variant. In contrast, cells carrying the XRCC3 D213N variant are able to eliminate aberrant cells by apoptosis, and consistent with this observation, this variant does not seem to be associated with cancer susceptibility.
Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP1) facilitates DNA repair by binding to DNA breaks and attracting DNA repair proteins to the site of damage. Nevertheless, PARP1-/- mice are viable, fertile and do not develop early onset tumours. Here, we show that PARP inhibitors trigger gamma-H2AX and RAD51 foci formation. We propose that, in the absence of PARP1, spontaneous single-strand breaks collapsereplication forks and trigger homologous recombination for repair. Furthermore, we show that BRCA2-deficient cells, as a result of their deficiency in homologous recombination, are acutely sensitive to PARP inhibitors, presumably because resultant collapsed replication forks are no longer repaired. Thus, PARP1 activity is essential in homologous recombination-deficient BRCA2 mutant cells. We exploit this requirement in order to kill BRCA2-deficient tumours by PARP inhibition alone. Treatment with PARP inhibitors is likely to be highly tumour specific, because only the tumours (which are BRCA2-/-) in BRCA2+/- patients aredefective in homologous recombination. The use of an inhibitor of a DNA repair enzyme alone to selectively kill a tumour, in the absence of an exogenous DNA-damaging agent, represents a new concept in cancer treatment.
The essential checkpoint kinase Chk1 is required for cell-cycle delays after DNAdamage or blocked DNA replication. However, it is unclear whether Chk1 is involved in the repair of damaged DNA. Here we establish that Chk1 is a key regulator of genome maintenance by the homologous recombination repair (HRR) system. Abrogation of Chk1 function with small interfering RNA or chemical antagonists inhibits HRR, leading to persistent unrepaired DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and cell death after replication inhibition with hydroxyurea or DNA-damage caused by camptothecin. After hydroxyurea treatment, the essential recombination repair protein RAD51 is recruited to DNA repair foci performing a vital role in correct HRR. We demonstrate that Chk1 interacts with RAD51, and that RAD51 is phosphorylated on Thr 309 in a Chk1-dependent manner. Consistent with a functional interplay between Chk1 and RAD51, Chk1-depleted cells failed to form RAD51 nuclear foci after exposure to hydroxyurea, and cells expressing a phosphorylation-deficient mutant RAD51(T309A) were hypersensitive to hydroxyurea. These results highlight a crucial role for the Chk1 signalling pathway in protecting cells against lethal DNA lesions through regulation of HRR.
Spinocerebellar ataxia with axonal neuropathy-1 (SCAN1) is a neurodegenerative disease that results from mutation of tyrosyl phosphodiesterase 1 (TDP1). In lower eukaryotes, Tdp1 removes topoisomerase 1 (top1) peptide from DNA termini during the repair of double-strand breaks created by collision of replication forks with top1 cleavage complexes in proliferating cells. Although TDP1 most probably fulfils a similar function in human cells, this role is unlikely to account for the clinical phenotype of SCAN1, which is associated with progressive degeneration of post-mitotic neurons. In addition, this role is redundant in lower eukaryotes, and Tdp1 mutations alone confer little phenotype. Moreover, defects in processing or preventing double-strand breaks during DNA replication are most probably associated with increased genetic instability and cancer, phenotypes not observed in SCAN1 (ref. 8). Here we show that in human cells TDP1is required for repair of chromosomal single-strand breaks arising independentlyof DNA replication from abortive top1 activity or oxidative stress. We report that TDP1 is sequestered into multi-protein single-strand break repair (SSBR) complexes by direct interaction with DNA ligase IIIalpha and that these complexes are catalytically inactive in SCAN1 cells. These data identify a defect in SSBR in a neurodegenerative disease, and implicate this process in the maintenance ofgenetic integrity in post-mitotic neurons.
Spontaneous homologous recombination is induced by collapsed replication forks that are caused by endogenous DNA single-strand breaks.
Homologous recombination is vital to repair fatal DNA damage during DNA replication. However, very little is known about the substrates or repair pathways for homologous recombination in mammalian cells. Here, we have comparedthe recombination products produced spontaneously with those produced following induction of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) with the I-SceI restriction endonuclease or after stalling or collapsing replication forks following treatment with thymidine or camptothecin, respectively. We show that each lesionproduces different spectra of recombinants, suggesting differential use of homologous recombination pathways in repair of these lesions. The spontaneous spectrum most resembled the spectra produced at collapsed replication forks formed when a replication fork runs into camptothecin-stabilized DNA single-strand breaks (SSBs) within the topoisomerase I cleavage complex. We found that camptothecin-induced DSBs and the resulting recombination repair require replication, showing that a collapsed fork is the substrate for camptothecin-induced recombination. An SSB repair-defective cell line, EM9 with an XRCC1 mutation, has an increased number of spontaneous gammaH2Ax and RAD51 foci, suggesting that endogenous SSBs collapse replication forks, triggering recombination repair. Furthermore, we show that gammaH2Ax, DSBs, and RAD51 foci are synergistically induced in EM9 cells with camptothecin, suggesting that lackof SSB repair in EM9 causes more collapsed forks and more recombination repair. Furthermore, our results suggest that two-ended DSBs are rare substrates for spontaneous homologous recombination in a mammalian fibroblast cell line. Interestingly, all spectra showed evidence of multiple homologous recombination events in 8 to 16% of clones. However, there was no increase in homologous recombination genomewide in these clones nor were the events dependent on each other; rather, we suggest that a first homologous recombination event frequentlytriggers a second event at the same locus in mammalian cells.
Methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) produces heat-labile DNA damage but no detectable in vivo DNA double-strand breaks.
Homologous recombination (HR) deficient cells are sensitive to methyl methanesulfonate (MMS). HR is usually involved in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae implying that MMS somehow induces DSBsin vivo. Indeed there is evidence, based on pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), that MMS causes DNA fragmentation. However, the mechanism through which MMS induces DSBs has not been demonstrated. Here, we show that DNA fragmentationfollowing MMS treatment, and detected by PFGE is not the consequence of production of cellular DSBs. Instead, DSBs seen following MMS treatment are produced during sample preparation where heat-labile methylated DNA is convertedinto DSBs. Furthermore, we show that the repair of MMS-induced heat-labile damage requires the base excision repair protein XRCC1, and is independent of HR in both S.cerevisiae and mammalian cells. We speculate that the reason for recombination-deficient cells being sensitive to MMS is due to the role of HR inrepair of MMS-induced stalled replication forks, rather than for repair of cellular DSBs or heat-labile damage.
The 5-year survival rate for patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is 10%. A number of genetic alterations are associated with this diseaseincluding mutations and amplifications of EGFR (70%) and Ras (20-30%), both of which are upstream of PI3K. Our previous data show that these regulate tumor radiation sensitivity. Here we ask whether the activation of this pathway has prognostic relevance in NSCLC. Two series of patients were retrospectively analyzed. The first series consisted of 23 Stage III NSCLC patients treated preoperatively with a chemo/radiation protocol. The second consisted of 12 StageIII NSCLC patients treated with chemo/ radiation without surgery who had survived more than 2 years. Expression levels of EGFR and Her-2 were assessed by immunohistochemical staining. PI3K signaling was evaluated by staining for phosphorylated Akt (P-Akt), a downstream target of PI3K. The staining for EGFR, Her-2, and P-Akt were related to outcome in the two groups. Additionally, the importance of PI3K signaling was evaluated in 3 NSCLC cell lines using a pharmacological blockade of PI3K by LY294002. In the first series of patients, 43% were positive for EGFR, 5% for Her-2, and 82.6% for P-Akt. Of the survivors,25% were positive for EGFR, 0% for Her-2, and 42% for P-Akt. For P-Akt, this difference had a probability calculation of 0.003. The three NSCLC cell lines that we tested were found to have high levels of P-Akt. Pharmacologically inhibiting PI3K led to decreased Akt phosphorylation and radio sensitization of all three cell lines. The finding that NSCLC survivors treated by radiation havelower levels of PI3K and Akt signaling is consistent with the idea that inhibition of Akt leads to radio sensitization. This further suggests that Akt might be a useful target for sensitization of NSCLC to radiation.
Anumber of proteins are recruited to nuclear foci upon exposure to double-strandDNA damage, including 53BP1 and Rad51, but the precise role of these DNA damage-induced foci remain unclear. Here we show in a variety of human cell lines that histone deacetylase (HDAC) 4 is recruited to foci with kinetics similar to,and colocalizes with, 53BP1 after exposure to agents causing double-stranded DNAbreaks. HDAC4 foci gradually disappeared in repair-proficient cells but persisted in repair-deficient cell lines or cells irradiated with a lethal dose, suggesting that resolution of HDAC4 foci is linked to repair. Silencing of HDAC4 via RNA interference surprisingly also decreased levels of 53BP1 protein, abrogated the DNA damage-induced G2 delay, and radiosensitized HeLa cells. Our combined results suggest that HDAC4 is a critical component of the DNA damage response pathway that acts through 53BP1 and perhaps contributes in maintaining the G2 cell cyclecheckpoint.
Radiation sensitization of human cancer cells in vivo by inhibiting the activity of PI3K using LY294002.
Multiple genetic alterations such as in Ras or EGFR can result in sustained signaling through PI3K. Our previous experiments have shown that resistance to radiation results from PI3K activity in cells in culture. Here we examined whether inhibition of PI3K in vivo would sensitize tumors to radiation.The humanbladder cancer cell line T24 has amplified and mutated H-Ras resulting in sustained PI3K activity and phosphorylation of the downstream target of PI3K, Akt. Nude mice bearing T24 tumor cell xenografts were randomly assigned to one of four groups: control, radiation alone, the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 alone, or combined LY294002 and radiation. The LY294002 was delivered intraperitoneally tothe mice. Downregulation of Akt was documented by Western blot analysis of tumorlysates. In vivo sensitization was measured using clonogenic assays or regrowth assays.A dose of 100 mg/kg of LY294002, but not 50 mg/kg, consistently eliminated the phosphorylation of Akt. This inhibition was transient, and Akt activity returned after 30 min. This dose resulted in severe respiratory depression and lethargy resolving without lethality. It is not possible to tell whether these side effects of LY294002 were mechanism-based or idiosyncratic. The PI3K inhibitor LY294002 by itself had minimal antitumor effect. The combination of LY294002 and radiation resulted in significant and synergistic reduction in clonogenicity and growth delay.Inhibition of PI3K by LY294002 can synergistically enhance radiation efficacy. This acts as a proof of principle that inhibition ofthe Ras to PI3K pathway could be useful clinically.
Ras signaling and its inhibition with farnesyltransferase inhibitors: effects on radiation resistance and the tumor microenvironment. In Modification of Radiation Response: Cytokines, Growth Factors, and Other Biological Targets
Selective inhibition of RAS signaling pathway increases the radiosensitivity in the wild type head & neck squamous cancer cell line with EGFR overexpression
Intravascular origin of metastasis from the proliferation of endothelium-attached tumor cells: a new model for metastasis.
Metastasis is a frequent complication of cancer, yet the process through which circulating tumor cells form distant colonies is poorly understood. We have beenable to observe the steps in early hematogenous metastasis by epifluorescence microscopy of tumor cells expressing green fluorescent protein in subpleural microvessels in intact, perfused mouse and rat lungs. Metastatic tumor cells attached to the endothelia of pulmonary pre-capillary arterioles and capillaries. Extravasation of tumor cells was rare, and it seemed that the transmigrated cells were cleared quickly by the lung, leaving only the endothelium-attached cells asthe seeds of secondary tumors. Early colonies were entirely within the blood vessels. Although most models of metastasis include an extravasation step early in the process, here we show that in the lung, metastasis is initiated by attachment of tumor cells to the vascular endothelium and that hematogenous metastasis originates from the proliferation of attached intravascular tumor cells rather than from extravasated ones. Intravascular metastasis formation would make early colonies especially vulnerable to intravascular drugs, and thispossibility has potential for the prevention of tumor cell attachment to the endothelium.
Matrix metalloproteinase 9 promoter activity is induced coincident with invasion during tumor progression.
Matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9, also known as gelatinase B or 92-kd Type IV collagenase) is overexpressed in many human and murine cancers. We induced carcinomas in mice carrying a transgene that links the MMP-9 promoter to the reporter ss-galactosidase so that activation of the MMP-9 promoter would be indicated by ss-galactosidase. Mammary carcinomas were induced by mating the MMP-9 promoter reporter transgenic mice with mice carrying a transgene for murine mammary tumor virus promoter linked to polyoma middle T antigen, a transgene that leads to rapid development of mammary tumors in female mice. None of the hyperplastic mammary glands and none of the carcinomas in situ expressed ss-galactosidase. However, all invasive tumors had evidence of ss-galactosidase expression. In addition to the breast carcinomas, a malignant teratoma in a female and a papillary adenocarcinoma in the pelvic region of a male arose and were also ss-galactosidase positive. We also induced skin tumors in the mice with the MMP-9 reporter transgene with 7, 12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) treatment followed by phorbol 12 myristate 13-acetate (TPA). None of the papillomas or in situ carcinomas showed any ss-galactosidase expression, but expression was seen in invasive carcinoma. Although normal skin epithelial cellsdid not express ss-galactosidase, we did find staining in a few cells at the duct of the sebaceous gland at the base of the hair follicles. The MMP-9 reporter transgene did not lead to expression in the alveolar macrophages, confirming that additional upstream sequences are required for expression in macrophages. These experiments have revealed that MMP-9 promoter activity is induced coincident with invasion during tumor progression. Furthermore, this indicates that the more proximal upstream elements of the promoter are sufficient for MMP-9 transcription during tumor progression.
Whereas large numbers of cells from a primary tumor may gain access to the circulation, few of them will give rise to metastases. The mechanism of elimination of these tumor cells, often termed "metastatic inefficiency," is poorly understood. In this study, we show that apoptosis in the lungs within 1-2days of introduction of the cells is an important component of metastatic inefficiency. First, we show that death of transformed, metastatic rat embryo cells occurred via apoptosis in the lungs 24-48 h after injection into the circulation. Second, we show that Bcl-2 overexpression in these cells inhibited apoptosis in culture and also conferred resistance to apoptosis in vivo in the lungs 24-48 h after injection. This inhibition of apoptosis led to significantlymore macroscopic metastases. Third, comparison between the extent of apoptosis by a poorly metastatic cell line to that by a highly metastatic cell line 24 h after injection in the lungs revealed more apoptosis by the poorly metastatic cell line. These results indicate that apoptosis, which occurs at 24-48 h after hematogenous dissemination in the lungs is an important determinant of metastatic inefficiency. Although prior work has shown an association between apoptosis in culture and metastasis in vivo, this work shows that apoptosis in vivo corresponds to decreased metastasis in vivo.
In this study, we examined the hypothesis that early pulmonary metastases form within the vasculature. We introduced primary tumors in immunocompromised mice by subcutaneous injection of murine breast carcinoma cells (4T1) expressing green fluorescent protein. Isolated ventilated and perfused lungs from these mice wereexamined at various times after tumor formation by fluorescent microscopy. The vasculature was visualized by counterstaining with 1,1-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindocarbocyanine (DiI)-acetylated low-density lipoprotein. These experiments showed that metastatic cells derived by spontaneous metastases were intravascular, and that early colony formation was intravascular. The location of the tumor cells was confirmed by deconvolution analysis. This work extends our previous study(1) that sarcoma cells injected intravenously form intravascular colonies to spontaneous metastasis and to a carcinoma model system. Many of the tumor cells seen were single implying that tumor cells may travel as single cells. These results support a model for pulmonary metastasis in mice in which 1) tumor cells can attach to lung endothelium soon after arrival; 2) surviving tumor cells proliferate intravascularly in this model; and 3) extravasation of the tumor occurs when intravascular micrometastatic foci outgrow the vessels they are in.
Coagulation facilitates tumor cell spreading in the pulmonary vasculature during early metastatic colony formation.
Coagulation has long been known to facilitate metastasis. To pinpoint the steps where coagulation might play a role in the metastasis, we used three-dimensionalvisualization of direct infusion of fluorescence labeled antibody to observe theinteraction of tumor cells with platelets and fibrinogen in isolated lung preparations. Tumor cells arrested in the pulmonary vasculature were associated with a clot composed of both platelets and fibrin(ogen). Initially, the cells attached to the pulmonary vessels were rounded. Over the next 2 to 6 hours, theyspread on the vessel surface. The associated clot was lysed coincident with tumor cell spreading. To assess the importance of clot formation, we inhibited coagulation with hirudin, a potent inhibitor of thrombin. The number of tumor cells initially arrested in the lung of hirudin-treated mice was essentially thesame as in control mice. However, tumor cell spreading and subsequent retention of the tumor cells in the lung was markedly inhibited in the anticoagulated mice. These associations of the tumor cells with platelets were independent of tumor cell expression of P-selectin ligands. This work identifies tumor cell spreadingonto the vascular surface as an important component of the metastatic cascade and implicates coagulation in this process.
Rapid apoptosis in the pulmonary vasculature distinguishes non-metastatic from metastatic melanoma cells.
The presence of metastases indicates an ominous prognosis in patients with malignancies, yet the factors that distinguish metastatic from non-metastatic tumors remain poorly understood. Here we pursued the hypothesis that apoptosis in vivo would distinguish metastatic cells from non-metastatic cells and developed a novel method for observation of apoptosis induction in living cells. One hour after the infusion of metastatic or non-metastatic human melanoma or transformedrat embryo fibroblasts, arrest of tumor cells in the pulmonary vasculature was equivalent. In order to demonstrate the induction of apoptosis in living cells, we observed the translocation of cytoplasmic BAD-GFP fusion proteins to the mitochondria during apoptosis. Microscopic observation of the tumor cells transfected with BAD-GFP in isolated lung preparations after intravenous injection into nu/nu mice revealed translocation of BAD-GFP in many more of the arrested, non-metastatic melanoma or transformed rat embryo cells over 4-24 h than of the metastatic cells. TUNEL staining confirmed enhanced apoptosis by non-metastatic tumor cells after injection in vivo. Metastatic melanoma cells ormetastatic embryo fibroblasts were better able to negotiate the barrier of survival in the circulation after pulmonary arrest than non-metastatic cells confirming the hypothesis that susceptibility to apoptosis after arrest in the pulmonary vasculature distinguishes metastatic from non-metastatic cells and introducing a new assay for in vivo induction of apoptosis.
Arrest of circulating tumor cells in distant organs is required for hematogenousmetastasis, but the tumor cell surface molecules responsible have not been identified. Here, we show that the tumor cell alpha3beta1 integrin makes an important contribution to arrest in the lung and to early colony formation. These analyses indicated that pulmonary arrest does not occur merely due to size restriction, and raised the question of how the tumor cell alpha3beta1 integrin contacts its best-defined ligand, laminin (LN)-5, a basement membrane (BM) component. Further analyses revealed that LN-5 is available to the tumor cell inpreexisting patches of exposed BM in the pulmonary vasculature. The early arrestof tumor cells in the pulmonary vasculature through interaction of alpha3beta1 integrin with LN-5 in exposed BM provides both a molecular and a structural basis for cell arrest during pulmonary metastasis.
The ablation of the protein kinase Raf-1 renders cells hypersensitive to apoptosis despite normal regulation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases, which suggests that apoptosis protection is mediated by a distinct pathway. We used proteomic analysis of Raf-1 signaling complexes to show that Raf-1 counteracts apoptosis by suppressing the activation of mammalian sterile 20-likekinase (MST2). Raf-1 prevents dimerization and phosphorylation of the activationloop of MST2 independently of its protein kinase activity. Depletion of MST2 from Raf-1-/- mouse or human cells abrogated sensitivity to apoptosis, whereas overexpression of MST2 induced apoptosis. Conversely, depletion of Raf-1 from Raf-1+/+ mouse or human cells led to MST2 activation and apoptosis. The concomitant depletion of both Raf-1 and MST2 prevented apoptosis.
The Raf-1 kinase has a well established role in activating the MEK-ERK/MAPK pathway. However, accumulating evidence including the phenotype of Raf-1(-/-) mice suggested that Raf-1 may have other functions independent of its role as MEK activator, in particular pertaining to protection against apoptosis. We have recently demonstrated a new role of Raf-1 by showing that Raf-1 controls the proapoptotic kinase MST2/Hippo. In mammalian cells MST2 is activated by stress signals and causes apoptosis when overexpressed. Its Drosophila homologue Hippo regulates apoptosis and cell cycle arrest during differentiation. Raf-1 inhibitsMST2 by preventing its dimerisation and recruiting a phosphatase that removes activating phosphorylations on MST2. Both functions require Raf-1 binding to MST2, but are independent of Raf-1's kinase activity and the ERK pathway. Downregulation of MST2 by siRNA reverts the apoptosis hypersensitivity of Raf-1(-/-) mouse fibroblasts. In contrast, the downregulation of Raf-1 in Raf-1(+/+) cells and human cancer cell lines enhances susceptibility to Fas induced apoptosis, which is rescued by concomitant downregulation of both Raf-1 and MST2. The MST2:Raf-1 complex is dissociated by stress signals as well as mitogens. Stress signals robustly activate MST2 and trigger apoptosis. Mitogens only make MST2 permissive for activation by releasing it from Raf-1, and in addition activate survival pathways allowing proliferation. Thus, by linking mitogenic and apoptotic signalling the MST:Raf-1 complex may serve as a safeguard against unlicensed proliferation.
Emerging evidence suggests that the proapoptotic kinase mammalian sterile 20-like kinase 2 (MST2) acts in a novel tumor suppression pathway. Recently, we showed that Raf-1 kinase sequesters and inhibits MST2 and that this event is critical for Raf-mediated cell survival. In this review, we summarize Raf control of MST2and we outline a novel pathway involving the downstream effector proteins Salvador and Warts/Lats that may act to limit the positive effects of Raf-mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling in cancer cells.
Nitric oxide was shown to radiosensitize anoxic V79 and CHO hamster cells and MCF7 and UT-SCC-14 human cells, measuring clonogenic survival and/or DNA damage in vitro at low radiation doses (0.1-5 Gy). Radiosensitization was easily detected after 2 Gy in anoxic V79 cells exposed to 40 ppm ( approximately 70 nM)nitric oxide, indicating that nitric oxide is a significantly more efficient radiosensitizer than oxygen. The yield of double-strand breaks (as gamma-H2AX foci) in V79 and MCF7 cells was doubled by irradiation in 1% v/v nitric oxide/N(2), and there was a longer repair time in cells irradiated in nitric oxide than in air or anoxia; single-strand breaks ("comet" assay) also appeared to be enhanced. Potent radiosensitization by nitric oxide is consistent with near diffusion-controlled reaction of nitric oxide with purine and pyrimidine radicals observed by pulse radiolysis, with nitric oxide reacting two to three times faster than oxygen with the 5-hydroxy-uracil-6-yl radical. Stable NO/base adducts were formed with uracil radicals. Effects on the radiosensitivity of cells exposed to as low as 40 ppm v/v nitric oxide after doses of 1-2 Gy suggest that variations in radiosensitivity in individual patients after radiotherapy might include a component reflecting differing levels of nitric oxide in tumors.
ATR-dependent radiation-induced gamma H2AX foci in bystander primary human astrocytes and glioma cells.
Radiotherapy is an important treatment for patients suffering from high-grade malignant gliomas. Non-targeted (bystander) effects may influence these cells' response to radiation and the investigation of these effects may therefore provide new insights into mechanisms of radiosensitivity and responses to radiotherapy as well as define new targets for therapeutic approaches. Normal primary human astrocytes (NHA) and T98G glioma cells were irradiated with heliumions using the Gray Cancer Institute microbeam facility targeting individual cells. Irradiated NHA and T98G glioma cells generated signals that induced gammaH2AX foci in neighbouring non-targeted bystander cells up to 48 h after irradiation. gammaH2AX bystander foci were also observed in co-cultures targeting either NHA or T98G cells and in medium transfer experiments. Dimethyl sulphoxide, Filipin and anti-transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta 1 could suppress gammaH2AX foci in bystander cells, confirming that reactive oxygen species (ROS) and membrane-mediated signals are involved in the bystander signalling pathways. Also, TGF-beta 1 induced gammaH2AX in an ROS-dependent manner similar to bystander foci. ROS and membrane signalling-dependent differences in bystander foci induction between T98G glioma cells and normal human astrocytes have been observed. Inhibition of ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) protein and DNA-PK could not suppress the induction of bystander gammaH2AX foci whereas the mutation of ATM- and rad3-related (ATR) abrogated bystander foci induction. Furthermore, ATR-dependent bystander foci induction was restricted to S-phase cells. These observations may provide additional therapeutic targets for the exploitation of the bystander effect.
Leukocyte DNA damage after multi-detector row CT: a quantitative biomarker of low-level radiation exposure.
PURPOSE: To prospectively determine if gammaH2AX (phosphorylated form of H2AX histone variant)-based visualization and quantification of DNA damage induced inperipheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) can be used to estimate the radiationdose received by adult patients who undergo multidetector computed tomography (CT). MATERIALS AND METHODS: After institutional review board approval and written informed patient consent were obtained, eight women and five men (mean age, 63.8 years) who would be undergoing chest-abdominal-pelvic CT or chest CT only were recruited. Venous blood samples obtained before scanning were exposed to different radiation doses in vitro and incubated for 5-30 minutes to obtain reference values of gammaH2AX focus yield. Additional blood samples were taken 5-30 minutes after CT. Leukocytes were isolated, fixed, and stained for gammaH2AX expression. The gammaH2AX focus yields were determined with fluorescence microscopy, and the radiation doses delivered during CT were estimated by comparing post-CT focus yields with in vitro pre-CT focus yields. These CT radiation doses were compared with doses calculated by using phantom dosimetry and Monte Carlo data sets. Data were analyzed by using linear regression, the dispersion index test, and the contaminated Poisson method. RESULTS: Compared with the gammaH2AX focus yields in blood samples taken before CT (0.06 focus percell+/-0.01 [mean+/-standard error of mean]), the yields in blood samples taken 5 minutes after chest-abdominal-pelvic CT (0.52 focus per cell+/-0.02) were 8-10-fold higher and corresponded to a mean radiation dose of 16.4 mGy (95% confidence interval: 15.1, 17.7). The mean yield of 0.24 focus per cell+/-0.04 in one patient after chest CT corresponded to a mean radiation dose of 6.3 mGy+/-1.4. In comparison, phantom dosimetry-calculated total blood doses were 13.85 mGy with whole-body CT and 5.16 mGy with chest CT. CONCLUSION: gammaH2AX focus yield in blood cells may be a useful quantitative biomarker of human low-level radiation exposure.
Mutation induction in directly exposed cells is currently regarded as the main component of the genetic risk of ionizing radiation for humans. However, recent data on the transgenerational increases in mutation rates in the offspring of irradiated parents indicate that the genetic risk could be greater than predicted previously. Here, we have analysed transgenerational changes in mutation rates and DNA damage in the germline and somatic tissues of non-exposed first-generation offspring of irradiated inbred male CBA/Ca and BALB/c mice. Mutation rates at an expanded simple tandem repeat DNA locus and a protein-coding gene (hprt) were significantly elevated in both the germline (sperm) and somatictissues of all the offspring of irradiated males. The transgenerational changes in mutation rates were attributed to the presence of a persistent subset of endogenous DNA lesions (double- and single-strand breaks), measured by the phosphorylated form of histone H2AX (gamma-H2AX) and alkaline Comet assays. Suchremarkable transgenerational destabilization of the F(1) genome may have important implications for cancer aetiology and genetic risk estimates. Our dataalso provide important clues on the still unknown mechanisms of radiation-induced genomic instability.
Enhanced fidelity for rejoining radiation-induced DNA double-strand breaks in the G2 phase of Chinese hamster ovary cells.
The influence of cell cycle phase on the fidelity of DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair is largely unknown. We investigated the rejoining of correct and incorrect DSB ends in synchronized populations of Chinese hamster ovary cells irradiated with 80 Gy X-rays. A specialized pulsed-field gel electrophoresis assay based on quantitative Southern hybridization of individual large restriction fragments was employed to measure correct DSB rejoining by monitoring restriction fragment reconstitution. Total DSB repair, representing both correctand incorrect rejoining, was analyzed using conventional pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. We present evidence that restriction fragment reconstitution ismore efficient in G2 than in G1, suggesting that DSB rejoining in G2 proceeds with higher fidelity. DNA-dependent protein kinase-deficient V3 and xrs-6 cells show impaired restriction fragment reconstitution in G1 and G2 compared with wild-type AA8 and K1 cells, demonstrating that the enhanced fidelity of DSB rejoining in G2 occurs by non- homologous end joining. Additionally, homologous recombination-deficient irs1SF and wild-type cells show identical DSB rejoining in G1 and G2. We propose that structural characteristics of G2 phase chromatin, such as the cohesion of sister chromatids in replicated chromatin, limit the mobility of radiation-induced break ends and enhance the fidelity of DSB rejoining.
The ATM protein, which is mutated in individuals with ataxia telangiectasia (AT), is central to cell cycle checkpoint responses initiated by DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). ATM's role in DSB repair is currently unclear as is the basis underlying the radiosensitivity of AT cells. We applied immunofluorescence detection of gamma-H2AX nuclear foci and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to quantify the repair of DSBs after X-ray doses between 0.02 and 80 Gy in confluence-arrested primary human fibroblasts from normal individuals and patients with mutations in ATM and DNA ligase IV, a core component of the nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) repair pathway. Cells with hypomorphic mutations in DNA ligase IV exhibit a substantial repair defect up to 24 h after treatment but continue to repair for several days and finally reach a level of unrepaired DSBs similar to that of wild-type cells. Additionally, the repair defect in NHEJmutants is dose dependent. ATM-deficient cells, in contrast, repair the majorityof DSBs with normal kinetics but fail to repair a subset of breaks, irrespectiveof the initial number of lesions induced. Significantly, after biologically relevant radiation doses and/or long repair times, the repair defect in AT cellsis more pronounced than that of NHEJ mutants and correlates with radiosensitivity. NHEJ-defective cells analyzed for survival following delayed plating after irradiation show substantial recovery while AT cells fail to show any recovery. These data argue that the DSB repair defect underlies a significant component of the radiosensitivity of AT cells.
Evidence for a lack of DNA double-strand break repair in human cells exposed to very low x-ray doses.
DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are generally accepted to be the most biologically significant lesion by which ionizing radiation causes cancer and hereditary disease. However, no information on the induction and processing of DSBs after physiologically relevant radiation doses is available. Many of the methods used to measure DSB repair inadvertently introduce this form of damage as part of the methodology, and hence are limited in their sensitivity. Here we present evidence that foci of gamma-H2AX (a phosphorylated histone), detected byimmunofluorescence, are quantitatively the same as DSBs and are capable of quantifying the repair of individual DSBs. This finding allows the investigationof DSB repair after radiation doses as low as 1 mGy, an improvement by several orders of magnitude over current methods. Surprisingly, DSBs induced in culturesof nondividing primary human fibroblasts by very low radiation doses (approximately 1 mGy) remain unrepaired for many days, in strong contrast to efficient DSB repair that is observed at higher doses. However, the level of DSBs in irradiated cultures decreases to that of unirradiated cell cultures if the cells are allowed to proliferate after irradiation, and we present evidence thatthis effect may be caused by an elimination of the cells carrying unrepaired DSBs. The results presented are in contrast to current models of risk assessmentthat assume that cellular responses are equally efficient at low and high doses,and provide the opportunity to employ gamma-H2AX foci formation as a direct biomarker for human exposure to low quantities of ionizing radiation.
Little is known about the quantitative contributions of nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) and homologous recombination (HR) to DNA double-strand break (DSB) repairin different cell cycle phases after physiologically relevant doses of ionizing radiation. Using immunofluorescence detection of gamma-H2AX nuclear foci as a novel approach for monitoring the repair of DSBs, we show here that NHEJ-defective hamster cells (CHO mutant V3 cells) have strongly reduced repair in all cell cycle phases after 1 Gy of irradiation. In contrast, HR-defective CHO irs1SF cells have a minor repair defect in G(1), greater impairment in S, and a substantial defect in late S/G(2). Furthermore, the radiosensitivity of irs1SF cells is slight in G(1) but dramatically higher in late S/G(2), while V3 cells show high sensitivity throughout the cell cycle. These findings show that NHEJ is important in all cell cycle phases, while HR is particularly important in late S/G(2), where both pathways contribute to repair and radioresistance. In contrast to DSBs produced by ionizing radiation, DSBs produced by the replication inhibitor aphidicolin are repaired entirely by HR. irs1SF, but not V3, cells show hypersensitivity to aphidicolin treatment. These data provide the first evaluation of the cell cycle-specific contributions of NHEJ and HR to the repairof radiation-induced versus replication-associated DSBs.
Misrepair of radiation-induced DNA double-strand breaks and its relevance for tumorigenesis and cancer treatment (review).
The faithful repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) is probably one of the most critical tasks for a cell in order to maintain its genomic integrity since these lesions may lead to chromosome breaks or rearrangements, mutations, cell death or cancer. DSBs can arise spontaneously during normal cellular DNA metabolism or may be induced by exogenous agents such as ionizing radiation. To overcome the danger that emanates from these lesions, eukaryotic cells have evolved specific pathways for processing DSBs by either homology-dependent or non-homologous repair mechanisms. This review focuses on the formation of genomic rearrangements that arise by joining incorrect break ends and on the factors that influence repair fidelity. Recent studies indicate that the probability for a break to be incorrectly rejoined is fairly low when DSBs are spatially separatedbut increases drastically when multiple breaks coincide. The formation of genomic rearrangements in situations of multiple breaks is mediated by non-homologous end-joining, the predominant DSB repair pathway in mammalian cells. Interestingly, the same pathway is required for efficiently preserving chromosomal integrity in situations of separated breaks. Furthermore, the probability for a DSB to be faithfully repaired depends on its genomic location and on the cell cycle position. Methods for assaying DSB repair are discussed, again with emphasis on experimental systems that allow to determine whether a DSB is correctly or incorrectly rejoined.
Radiation-induced genomic rearrangements formed by nonhomologous end-joining of DNA double-strand breaks.
Two major pathways for repairing DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) have been identified in mammalian cells, nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) and homologous recombination (HR). Inactivation of NHEJ is known to lead to an elevated level of spontaneous and radiation-induced chromosomal rearrangements associated with an increased risk of tumorigenesis. This has raised the idea of a caretaker role for NHEJ. It is, however, not known whether NHEJ itself can also cause rearrangements. To investigate, on the DNA level, the influence of a defect in NHEJ on the formation of genomic rearrangements, we applied an assay based on Southern hybridization that allows the identification and quantification of incorrectly rejoined DSB ends produced by ionizing radiation. After 80 Gy of X-irradiation at a high dose rate (23 Gy/min), wild-type cells repaired 50% of the induced DSBs within 24 h by incorrect rejoining. This frequency of DSB misrejoining is considerably reduced in NHEJ-deficient cells. Low-dose-rate experiments, in which the cells were exposed to 80 Gy over a period of 14 days under repair conditions, led to no detectable misrejoining in wild-type cells but revealed a misrejoining frequency of 10% in NHEJ-deficient cells. This shows that in situations of separated breaks, NHEJ deficiency leads to genomic rearrangements, in agreement with chromosomal studies. However, if multiple DSBscoincide, even wild-type cells form genomic rearrangements frequently. These repair events are absent in Ku80-, DNA-PKcs-, and DNA ligase IV-deficient cells but are present in RAD54(-/-) cells. This strongly suggests that NHEJ has, in addition to its caretaker role, also the potential to effect genomic rearrangements. We propose that it serves as an efficient pathway for rejoining correct break ends in situations of separated breaks but generates genomic rearrangements if DSBs are close in time and space.
Recombination at mammalian telomeres: an alternative mechanism for telomere protection and elongation.
In human cells, homologous recombination (HR) provides an accurate mechanism forthe repair of DNA double-strand breaks caused by replication fork breakdown or DNA damaging agents. HR also plays a role in the maintenance of eukaryotic telomeres; cells defective in the recombinational repair proteins RAD51D or RAD54 exhibit telomere shortening and end-to-end chromosome fusions. Here we discuss the way in which HR contributes to telomere protection and elongation in mammalian cells. Understanding the mechanisms by which HR promotes telomere maintenance has important implications for genomic stability and tumorigenesis.
The five RAD51 paralogs (RAD51B, RAD51C, RAD51D, XRCC2, and XRCC3) are required in mammalian cells for normal levels of genetic recombination and resistance to DNA-damaging agents. We report here that RAD51D is also involved in telomere maintenance. Using immunofluorescence labeling, electron microscopy, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, RAD51D was shown to localize to the telomeres of both meiotic and somatic cells. Telomerase-positive Rad51d(-/-) Trp53(-/-) primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) exhibited telomeric DNA repeat shortening compared to Trp53(-/-) or wild-type MEFs. Moreover, elevated levels of chromosomal aberrations were detected, including telomeric end-to-end fusions, a signature of telomere dysfunction. Inhibition of RAD51D synthesis in telomerase-negative immortalized human cells by siRNA also resulted in telomere erosion and chromosome fusion. We conclude that RAD51D plays a dual cellular role in both the repair of DNA double-strand breaks and telomere protection against attrition and fusion.
The efficient repair of double-strand breaks in DNA is critical for the maintenance of genome stability. In response to ionizing radiation and other DNA-damaging agents, the RAD51 protein, which is essential for homologous recombination, relocalizes within the nucleus to form distinct foci that can be visualized by microscopy and are thought to represent sites where repair reactions take place. The formation of RAD51 foci in response to DNA damage is dependent upon BRCA2 and a series of proteins known as the RAD51 paralogues (RAD51B, RAD51C, RAD51D, XRCC2 and XRCC3), indicating that the components present within foci assemble in a carefully orchestrated and ordered manner. By contrast, RAD51 foci that form spontaneously as cells undergo DNA replication at S phase occur without the need for BRCA2 or the RAD51 paralogues. It is known that BRCA2interacts directly with RAD51 through a series of degenerative motifs known as the BRC repeats. These interactions modulate the ability of RAD51 to bind DNA. Taken together, these observations indicate that BRCA2 plays a critical role in controlling the actions of RAD51 at both the microscopic (focus formation) and molecular (DNA binding) level.
The formation of RAD51 foci in response to ionizing radiation (IR) represents animportant step in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks. RAD51 foci also appearduring S phase and are thought to be required for the restart of stalled or broken replication forks. The RAD51 recombinase interacts directly with the breast cancer-associated tumour suppressor BRCA2, an interaction that is required for normal recombination proficiency, radiation resistance and genome stability.In CAPAN-1 cells, which express a truncated form of BRCA2 that is cytoplasmic because of loss of the nuclear localization signal, the formation of IR-induced RAD51 foci is impaired. In this work, we show that S-phase RAD51 foci form normally in CAPAN-1 cells expressing truncated BRCA2. Moreover, we find that RAD51 specifically associates with chromatin at S phase in a reaction that is BRCA2-independent. The observed BRCA2-dependent and independent formation of RAD51 foci shows that intact BRCA2 is not required for RAD51 focus formation perse, leading us to suggest that S phase and IR-induced RAD51 foci assemble by distinct pathways with defined protein requirements.
Meiotic checkpoints are manifested through protein complexes capable of detecting an abnormality in chromosome metabolism and signaling it to effector molecules that subsequently delay or arrest the progression of meiosis. Some checkpoints act during the first meiotic prophase to monitor the repair of chromosomal DSBs,predominantly by meiotic recombination, or to ensure the correct establishment of synapsis and its well-timed dissolution. In mammals, a number of checkpoint and repair proteins localize to the meiotic chromosomal cores, sometimes in the context of the synaptonemal complex (SC). Here we discuss possible functions of these proteins in the accomplishment of meiotic recombination and normal progression of the meiotic pathway. Also, we present arguments for a structural role of cores and SCs in the assembly of the repair and checkpoint protein complexes on the chromosomes.
Werner's syndrome protein (WRN) migrates Holliday junctions and co-localizes with RPA upon replication arrest.
Individuals affected by the autosomal recessive disorder Werner's syndrome (WS) develop many of the symptoms characteristic of premature ageing. Primary fibroblasts cultured from WS patients exhibit karyotypic abnormalities and a reduced replicative life span. The WRN gene encodes a 3'-5' DNA helicase, and isa member of the RecQ family, which also includes the product of the Bloom's syndrome gene (BLM). In this work, we show that WRN promotes the ATP-dependent translocation of Holliday junctions, an activity that is also exhibited by BLM. In cells arrested in S-phase with hydroxyurea, WRN localizes to discrete nuclearfoci that coincide with those formed by the single-stranded DNA binding protein replication protein A. These results are consistent with a model in which WRN prevents aberrant recombination events at sites of stalled replication forks by dissociating recombination intermediates.
Expression and nuclear localization of BLM, a chromosome stability protein mutated in Bloom's syndrome, suggest a role in recombination during meiotic prophase.
Bloom's syndrome (BS) is a recessive human genetic disorder characterized by short stature, immunodeficiency and elevated risk of malignancy. BS cells have genomic instability and an increased frequency of sister chromatid exchange. Thegene mutated in BS, BLM, encodes a 3'-5' helicase (BLM) with homology to bacterial recombination factor, RecQ. Human males homozygous for BLM mutations are infertile and heterozygous individuals display increased frequencies of structural chromosome abnormalities in their spermatozoa. Also, mutations in theSaccharomyces cerevisiae homolog of BLM, Sgs1, cause a delay in meiotic nuclear division and a reduction in spore viability. These observations suggest that BLMmay play a role during meiosis. Our antibodies raised against the C terminus of the human protein specifically recognize both mouse and human BLM in western blots of cell lines and in successive developmental stages of spermatocytes, butfail to detect BLM protein in a cell line with a C-terminally truncated protein.BLM protein expression and location are detected by immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy as discrete foci that are sparsely present on early meiotic prophase chromosome cores, later found abundantly on synapsed cores, frequently in combination with the recombinases RAD51 and DMC1, and eventually as pure BLM foci. The colocalization of RAD51/DMC1 with BLM and the statistically significant excess of BLM signals in the synapsed pseudoautosomal region of the X-Y chromosomes, which is a recombinational hot spot, provide indications that BLM protein may function in the meiotic recombination process.
DNA repair capacity as a possible biomarker of breast cancer risk in female BRCA1 mutation carriers.
The BRCA1 gene product helps to maintain genomic integrity through its participation in the cellular response to DNA damage: specifically, the repair of double-stranded DNA breaks. An impaired cellular response to DNA damage is a plausible mechanism whereby BRCA1 mutation carriers are at increased risk of breast cancer. Hence, an individual's capacity to repair DNA may serve as a useful biomarker of breast cancer risk. The overall aim of the current study wasto identify a biomarker of DNA repair capacity that could distinguish between BRCA1 mutation carriers and non-carriers. DNA repair capacity was assessed usingthree validated assays: the single-cell alkaline gel electrophoresis (comet) assay, the micronucleus test, and the enumeration of gamma-H2AX nuclear foci. DNA repair capacity of peripheral blood lymphocytes from 25 cancer-free female heterozygous BRCA1 mutation carriers and 25 non-carrier controls was assessed atbaseline and following cell exposure to gamma-irradiation (2 Gy). We found no significant differences in the mean tail moment, in the number of micronuclei orin the number of gamma-H2AX nuclear foci between the carriers and non-carriers at baseline, and following gamma-irradiation. These data suggest that these assays are not likely to be useful in the identification of women at a high risk for breast cancer.
Preclinical pharmacokinetic, biodistribution, toxicology, and dosimetry studies of 111In-DTPA-human epidermal growth factor: an auger electron-emitting radiotherapeutic agent for epidermal growth factor receptor-positive breast cancer.
Our objective was to evaluate the pharmacokinetics, normal tissue distribution, radiation dosimetry, and toxicology of human epidermal growth factor (hEGF) labeled with (111)In ((111)In-diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid [DTPA]-hEGF) inmice and rabbits. METHODS: (111)In-DTPA-hEGF (3.6 MBq; 1.3 or 13 microg) was administered intravenously to BALB/c mice. The blood concentration-time data were fitted to a 3-compartment model. Acute toxicity was studied with female BALB/c mice at 42 times the maximum planned human dose (MBq/kg) or with New Zealand White rabbits at 1 times the maximum planned human dose (MBq/kg) for a phase I clinical trial. Toxicity was evaluated by monitoring body weight, by determination of hematology and clinical biochemistry parameters, and by morphologic examination of tissues. Radiation dosimetry projections in humans were estimated on the basis of the residence times in mice by use of the OLINDA version 1.0 computer program. RESULTS: The largest amounts of radioactivity weretaken up by the liver (41.3 +/- 7.8 [mean +/- SD] percentage injected dose [%ID]at 1 h after injection and decreasing to 4.9 +/- 0.3 %ID at 72 h after injection) and kidneys (18.6 +/- 0.8 %ID at 1 h and decreasing to 4.5 +/- 0.2 %ID at 72 h after injection). (111)In-DTPA-hEGF was cleared rapidly from the blood, with a half-life at alpha-phase of 2.7-6.2 min and a half-life at beta-phase of 24.0-36.3 min. The half-life of the long terminal phase could not be accurately determined. The volume of distribution of the central compartment was 340-375 mL/kg, and the volume of distribution at steady state was 430-685 mL/kg. There was no significant difference in the ratio of body weight at 15 d to pretreatment weight for mice administered (111)In-DTPA-hEGF (1.02 +/- 0.01) and mice administered unlabeled DTPA-hEGF (1.01 +/- 0.01). Erythrocyte, leukocyte, and platelet counts and serum alanine aminotransferase and creatinine levels remained in the normal ranges. No morphologic changes were observed by light microscopy in any of 19 tissues sampled. Minor morphologic changes in the liver were observed by electron microscopy. The projected whole-body dose in humans was 0.19 mSv.MBq(-1). The projected doses to the liver, kidneys, and lower large intestine were 0.76, 1.82, and 1.12 mSv.MBq(-1), respectively. CONCLUSION: (111)In-DTPA-hEGF was safely administered to mice and rabbits at multiples of the maximum dose planned for a phase I trial in breast cancer patients.
A kit formulated under good manufacturing practices for labeling human epidermal growth factor with 111In for radiotherapeutic applications.
Our goal was to design and manufacture a kit under good manufacturing practices (GMP) for the preparation of (111)In-DTPA-hEGF Injection, a novel targeted radiotherapeutic agent for advanced epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-positive breast cancer. METHODS: Human EGF (hEGF) was derivatized with diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) and then purified by size-exclusion chromatography and ultrafiltration. Kits were prepared by dispensing 0.25 mg (1 mL) of DTPA-hEGF in 1 mol/L sodium acetate buffer [pH 6.0] into single-dose glass vials. Raw materials were pharmacopoieal or reagent grade according to the American Chemical Society and were tested for identity and purity. Kits were tested for protein concentration, purity and homogeneity (sodium dodecyl sulfatepolyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and size-exclusion high-performance liquid chromatography), pH, clarity and color, volume, DTPA substitution, labeling efficiency, receptor binding to MDA-MB-468 human breast cancer cells, and sterility and apyrogenicity. (111)In-DTPA-hEGF Injection was tested for pH, radionuclidic and radiochemical purity, clarity and color, and sterility and apyrogenicity. RESULTS: Four lots of kits and 8 lots of (111)In-DTPA-hEGF Injection passed all quality specifications. The labeling efficiency was 94%-99%with 115-773 MBq (111)In chloride added to a single kit. (111)In-DTPA-hEGF exhibited preserved receptor binding against MDA-MB-468 cells (affinity constant[K(a)], 0.9-1.1 x 10(7) L/mol; maximum number of binding sites per cell [B(max)], 1.1-2.2 x 10(6) sites per cell). In addition, labeling of aliquots of the kit suggested that a single vial could be labeled with up to 3,083 MBq (111)In whilemaintaining a radiochemical purity of >90%. Kits were stable for >90 d and (111)In-DTPA-hEGF Injection was stable for >24 h stored at 4 degrees C. CONCLUSION: The kit formulation is suitable for preparing (111)In-DTPA-hEGF Injection for a phase I clinical trial in patients with advanced EGFR-positive breast cancer. Establishment of the GMP processes for (111)In-DTPA-hEGF Injection provides a useful example of manufacturing biotechnology-based investigational radiopharmaceuticals in an academic environment for early phase I clinical trials.
Antitumor effects and normal tissue toxicity of 111In-labeled epidermal growth factor administered to athymic mice bearing epidermal growth factor receptor-positive human breast cancer xenografts.
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is an attractive target for the design of radiotherapeutic agents for breast cancer because it is present on almost all estrogen receptor-negative, hormone-resistant tumors with a poor prognosis. In this study, we describe the antitumor effects and normal tissue toxicity of the novel Auger electron-emitting radiopharmaceutical (111)In-labeled diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid-human epidermal growth factor ((111)In-DTPA-hEGF) administered to athymic mice bearing EGFR-positive human breast cancer xenografts. METHODS: Mice bearing subcutaneous MDA-MB-468 or MCF-7human breast cancer xenografts were treated with 5 weekly doses of (111)In-DTPA-hEGF (total, 27.7-92.5 MBq or 5-17 micro g). Treatment was commenced 6 wk after tumor cell implantation (established tumors) or 1 wk after implantation (nonestablished tumors). Antitumor effects were assessed by use of the slope of the tumor growth curve. Normal tissue toxicity was assessed by use of plasma alanine transaminase and creatinine levels, hematologic indices (leukocytes, platelets, erythrocytes, and hemoglobin), histopathologic examination of the liver and kidneys, and changes in body weight. The uptake of (111)In-DTPA-hEGF in tumors of different sizes (<5-200 mm(3)) was investigated, and microdosimetry estimates were calculated. RESULTS: (111)In-DTPA-hEGF exhibited strong antitumor effects against established MDA-MB-468 xenografts, decreasing their growth rate 3-fold compared with that in normal saline-treated mice (slopes, 0.0225 and 0.0737 d(-1), respectively; P = 0.002). The antitumor effects of (111)In-DTPA-hEGF were much more profound in mice with small, nonestablished MDA-MB-468 tumors, which regressed, than in saline-treated mice (slopes, -0.009 and 0.0297 d(-1), respectively; P < 0.001). The growth of MCF-7 xenografts, with a 100-fold-lower level of EGFR expression, was modestly inhibited by (111)In-DTPA-hEGF compared with that in saline-treated mice (slopes, 0.0250 and 0.0488 d(-1), respectively; P = 0.051). There was a 1.4- to 2-fold decrease in leukocyte and platelet counts with (111)In-DTPA-hEGF treatment, but these counts remained in the normal ranges. There was no change in other biochemical or hematologic parameters or body weight. There was no evidence of morphologic damage to the liver or kidneys. A strong inverse relationship was observed between radiopharmaceutical uptake and tumor size, with small tumors (<5 mm(3)) accumulating >30% of the injected dose (%ID) per gram, compared with 5 %ID/g for tumors measuring 6-30 mm(3). Exceptionally high uptake (>80 %ID/g) wasachieved in tumors measuring 1-2 mm(3). Microdosimetry estimates indicated that the nucleus of an MDA-MB-468 cell would receive 90-1,400 cGy, depending on the level of radiopharmaceutical uptake. CONCLUSION: (111)In-DTPA-hEGF exhibited strong antitumor effects against MDA-MB-468 breast cancer xenografts overexpressing EGFR. The highest tumor localization, radiation-absorbed doses, and growth inhibition were achieved for small, nonestablished tumors, suggestingthat the radiopharmaceutical may be most valuable for the treatment of small-volume metastatic breast cancer or occult micrometastases in an adjuvant setting.
A phase I study of 99mTc-hR3 (DiaCIM), a humanized immunoconjugate directed towards the epidermal growth factor receptor.
A phase I trial was conducted to evaluate the safety, tumour and normal tissue localization, pharmacokinetics and radiation dosimetry of Tc-hR3, a humanized monoclonal antibody directed towards the epidermal growth factor receptor, in 12patients with recurrent or metastatic epithelial malignancies. Patients were injected intravenously with 3.0 mg or 6.0 mg (1010 MBq) of Tc-hR3. Blood and plasma concentrations of radioactivity were measured and a complete 24 h urine collection was obtained. Whole-body images were acquired up to 24 h post-injection and normal organ uptake quantified. Radiation dosimetry was estimated using MIRDose. Safety was evaluated by clinical observation, biochemical/haematological testing and by measuring immune response to Tc-hR3. There were no adverse effects, no changes in biochemical/haematological indices and no immune response to Tc-hR3. Tc-hR3 was rapidly cleared from the blood witha distribution half-life of 10.8+/-3.8 min. The volume of distribution, and clearance, were 180+/-37 ml.kg and 14+/-3 ml.kg.min, respectively. The elimination phase could not be discerned due to increasing blood radioactivity at later times. About 19-24% was excreted in the urine. Normal tissue uptake was mainly in the liver (44-50%), spleen (3-4%) and kidneys (3%). Imaging was positive in one patient with squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth and an involved cervical lymph node. The whole-body radiation dose from Tc-hR3 was 1.34+/-0.02x10 mSv.Bq. We conclude that Tc-hR3 exhibited an excellent safety profile. Future studies to determine the sensitivity and specificity of imaging with Tc-hR3 in alarger group of patients with pre-selection for epidermal growth factor receptorpositivity are planned.
Fluorescent and luminescent probes for measurement of oxidative and nitrosative species in cells and tissues: Progress, pitfalls, and prospects.
Chemical probes for free radicals in biology are important tools; fluorescence and chemiluminescence offer high detection sensitivity. This article reviews progress in the development of probes for "reactive oxygen and nitrogen" species, emphasizing the caution needed in their use. Reactive species include hydrogen peroxide; hydroxyl, superoxide, and thiyl radicals; carbonate radical-anion; andnitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and peroxynitrite. Probes based on reduced dyes lack selectivity and may require a catalyst for reaction: despite these drawbacks, dichlorodihydrofluorescein and dihydrorhodamine have been used in well over 2000 studies. Use in cellular systems requires loading into cells, and minimizing leakage. Reactive species can compete with intracellular antioxidants, changes in fluorescence or luminescence possibly reflecting changes in competingantioxidants rather than free radical generation rate. Products being measured can react further with radicals, and intermediate probe radicals are often reactive toward antioxidants and especially oxygen, to generate superoxide. Common probes for superoxide and nitric oxide require activation to a reactive intermediate; activation is not achieved by the radical of interest and the response is thus additionally sensitive to this first step. Rational use of probes requires understanding and quantitation of the mechanistic pathways involved, and of environmental factors such as oxygen and pH. We can build on this framework of knowledge in evaluating new probes.
A novel bioreductive prodrug of 6-thioguanine, 2-amino-6-[2-(4-nitrophenyl)prop-2-ylsulfanyl]-9H-purine, containing a gem-dimethyl thioether linkage, was synthesised and compared with its unsubstituted analogue. In A549 whole cell experiments hypoxia selective releaseof 6-thioguanine was observed with the substituted prodrug only.
Radiosensitizers are intended to enhance tumour cell killing while having much less effect on normal tissues. Some drugs target different physiological characteristics of the tumour, particularly hypoxia associated with radioresistance. Oxygen is the definitive hypoxic cell radiosensitizer, the large differential radiosensitivity of oxic vs hypoxic cells being an attractive factor. The combination of nicotinamide to reduce acute hypoxia with normobaric carbogen breathing is showing clinical promise. 'Electron-affinic' chemicals that react with DNA free radicals have the potential for universal activity to combathypoxia-associated radioresistance; a nitroimidazole, nimorazole, is clinically effective at tolerable doses. Hypoxia-specific cytotoxins, such as tirapazamine,are valuable adjuncts to radiotherapy. Nitric oxide is a potent hypoxic cell radiosensitizer; variations in endogenous levels might have prognostic significance, and routes to deliver nitric oxide specifically to tumours are being developed. In principle, many drugs can be delivered selectively to hypoxic tumours using either reductase enzymes or radiation-produced free radicals to activate drug release from electron-affinic prodrugs. A redox-active agent basedon a gadolinium chelate is being evaluated clinically. Pyrimidines substituted with bromine or iodine are incorporated into DNA and enhance free radical damage; fluoropyrimidines act by different mechanisms. A wide variety of drugs that influence the nature or repair of DNA damage are being evaluated in conjunction with radiation; it is often difficult to define the mechanisms underlying chemoradiation regimens. Drugs being evaluated include topoisomerase inhibitors (e.g. camptothecin, topotecan), and the hypoxia-activated anthraquinone AQ4N; alkylating agents include temozolomide. Drugs involved in DNA repair pathways being investigated include the potent poly(ADP ribose)polymerase inhibitor, AG14,361. Proteins involved in cell signalling, such as the Ras family, are attractive targets linked to radioresistance, as are epidermal growth factor receptors and linked kinases (drugs including vandetanib [ZD6,474], cetuximab and gefitinib), and cyclooxygenase-2 (celecoxib). The suppression of radioprotectivethiols seems to offer more potential with alkylating agents than with radiotherapy, although it remains a strategy worthy of exploration.
The oxidizing power of the glutathione thiyl radical as measured by its electrode potential at physiological pH.
The oxidizing power of the thiyl radical (GS*) produced on oxidation of glutathione (GSH) was determined as the mid-point electrode potential (reductionpotential) of the one-electron couple E(m)(GS*,H+/GSH) in water, as a function of pH over the physiological range. The method involved measuring the equilibrium constants for electron-transfer equilibria with aniline or phenothiazine redox indicators of known electrode potential. Thiyl and indicator radicals were generated in microseconds by pulse radiolysis, and the position of equilibrium measured by fast kinetic spectrophotometry. The electrode potential E(m)(GS*,H+/GSH) showed the expected decrease by approximately 0.06 V/pH as pH was increased from approximately 6 to 8, reflecting thiol/thiolate dissociation and yielding a value of the reduction potential of GS*=0.92+/-0.03 V at pH 7.4. An apparently almost invariant potential between pH approximately 3 and 6, with potentials significantly lower than expected, is ascribed at least in part to errors arising from radical decay during the approach to the redox equilibrium and slow electron transfer of thiol compared to thiolate.
Hypoxia and DNA damage stabilize the p53 protein, but the subsequent effect thateach stress has on transcriptional regulation of known p53 target genes is variable. We have used chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by CpG island (CGI) microarray hybridization to identify promoters bound by p53 under both DNA-damaging and non-DNA-damaging conditions in HCT116 cells. Using gene-specific PCR analysis, we have verified an association with CGIs of the highest enrichment (> 2.5-fold) (REV3L, XPMC2H, HNRPUL1, TOR1AIP1, glutathione peroxidase 1, and SCFD2), with CGIs of intermediate enrichment (> 2.2-fold) (COX7A2L, SYVN1, and JAG2), and with CGIs of low enrichment (> 2.0-fold) (MYC and PCNA). We found little difference in promoter binding when p53 is stabilized by these two distinctly different stresses. However, expression of these genes varies a greatdeal: while a few genes exhibit classical induction with adriamycin, the majority of the genes are unchanged or are mildly repressed by either hypoxia or adriamycin. Further analysis using p53 mutated in the core DNA binding domain revealed that the interaction of p53 with CGIs may be occurring through both sequence-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Taken together, these experiments describe the identification of novel p53 target genes and the subsequent discovery of distinctly different expression phenomena for p53 target genes under different stress scenarios.
Hypoxia/reoxygenation is a physiological stress that activates the DNA damage pathway. Significantly, this pathway is initiated during hypoxia, in the absenceof detectable DNA damage. Our most recent study determined that during hypoxia, Chk 2 is phosphorylated in an ATM-dependent manner. In addition to this finding,we found that components of the MRN complex were not required for Chk 2 phosphorylation during hypoxia/reoxygenation. Once activated, Chk 2 initiates a signaling cascade, which induces a cell cycle arrest in the G2 phase. Loss of the Chk 2-mediated arrest correlated with an increase in sensitivity to hypoxia/reoxygenation. In contrast, loss of a p53-mediated reoxygenation-inducedG1 arrest does not correlate with increased sensitivity to hypoxia/reoxygenation.
Hypoxia is an important nongenotoxic stress that modulates the tumor suppressor activity of p53 during malignant progression. In this study, we investigated howgenotoxic and nongenotoxic stresses regulate p53 association with chromatin, p53transcriptional activity, and p53-dependent apoptosis. We found that genotoxic and nongenotoxic stresses result in the accumulation and binding of the p53 tumor suppressor protein to the same cognate binding sites in chromatin. However, it is the stress that determines whether downstream signaling is mediated by association with transcriptional coactivators. In contrast to p53 induced by DNA-damaging agents, hypoxia-induced p53 has primarily transrepression activity.Using extensive microarray analysis, we identified families of repressed targetsof p53 that are involved in cell signaling, DNA repair, cell cycle control, and differentiation. Following our previous study on the contribution of residues 25and 26 to p53-dependent hypoxia-induced apoptosis, we found that residues 25-26 and 53-54 and the polyproline- and DNA-binding regions are also required for both gene repression and the induction of apoptosis by p53 during hypoxia. This studydefines a new role for residues 53 and 54 of p53 in regulating transrepression and demonstrates that 25-26 and 53-54 work in the same pathway to induce apoptosis through gene repression.
Due to the abnormal vasculature of solid tumors, tumor cell oxygenation can change rapidly with the opening and closing of blood vessels, leading to the activation of both hypoxic response pathways and oxidative stress pathways upon reoxygenation. Here, we report that ataxia telangiectasia mutated-dependent phosphorylation and activation of Chk2 occur in the absence of DNA damage duringhypoxia and are maintained during reoxygenation in response to DNA damage. Our studies involving oxidative damage show that Chk2 is required for G2 arrest. Following exposure to both hypoxia and reoxygenation, Chk2-/- cells exhibit an attenuated G2 arrest, increased apoptosis, reduced clonogenic survival, and deficient phosphorylation of downstream targets. These studies indicate that thecombination of hypoxia and reoxygenation results in a G2 checkpoint response that is dependent on the tumor suppressor Chk2 and that this checkpoint response is essential for tumor cell adaptation to changes that result from the cycling nature of hypoxia and reoxygenation found in solid tumors.
Both Chk 1 and Chk 2 are critically important checkpoint kinases. Chk 1 is an essential gene that is required for normal cell division and Chk 2 has been found to be mutated in an ever-growing list of human malignancies. Our recent studies indicate that both Chk 1 and Chk 2 have roles to play in the physiological stress of hypoxia/reoxygenation. Loss or inhibition of either kinase sensitizes cells to hypoxia/reoxygenation indicating that either or both could represent significanttherapeutic targets.
Hypoxia represents one of the most physiologically relevant stresses, having significant roles in both normal development and malignant progression. Exposureto severe hypoxia leads to the accumulation of p53 which can in turn lead to rapid apoptosis. In contrast to the response to DNA-damaging agents, hypoxia-induced p53 has little or no transcriptional transactivation capabilities and instead seems to function primarily as a transrepressor in order to induce apoptosis.
The p53QS transactivation-deficient mutant shows stress-specific apoptotic activity and induces embryonic lethality.
The role of transcriptional activation in p53 function is highly controversial. To define this role in vivo, we generated a Trp53 knock-in construct encoding a protein carrying mutations of two residues that are crucial for transactivation (L25Q,W26S). Here we show that these mutations have selective effects on the biological functions of p53. Although its ability to activate various p53 targetgenes is largely compromised, the p53(QS) protein retains the ability to transactivate the gene Bax. The ability of the p53(QS) mutant protein to elicit a DNA damage-induced G1 cell cycle-arrest response is also partially impaired. p53(QS) has selective defects in its ability to induce apoptosis: it is completely unable to activate apoptosis in response to DNA damage, is partially unable to do so when subjected to serum deprivation and retains substantial apoptotic activity upon exposure to hypoxia. These findings suggest that p53 acts through distinct, stimulus-specific pathways to induce apoptosis. The importanceof the biological activity of p53(QS) in vivo is underscored by our finding thatexpression of p53(QS), which cannot bind mdm2, induces embryonic lethality. Taken together, these results suggest that p53 has different mechanisms of action depending on specific contextual cues, which may help to clarify the function ofp53 in preventing cancer.
The transient opening and closing of tumor vasculature result in periods of severe oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) followed by reoxygenation. This exerts a positive selective pressure for cells that have lost their sensitivity to killing by reduced oxygen levels. These cells are effectively resistant to hypoxia-induced apoptosis and conventional therapeutic approaches. Here we show hypoxia-induced S-phase arrest results in regions of single-stranded DNA in stalled replication forks and signals the activation of ATR. S-phase cells represent the most sensitive phase of the cell cycle to the stress of hypoxia/reoxygenation. Loss of ATR or inhibition of ATR kinase activity results in a further loss of reproductive viability in S-phase cells when exposed to hypoxic conditions followed by reoxygenation but has little effect on the inhibition of DNA synthesis. This is, at least in part, mediated via Chk1 signaling because loss of Chk1 also results in increased sensitivity to hypoxia/reoxygenation. The observed decrease in reproductive survival is in partbecause of the accumulation of DNA damage in S-phase cells during hypoxia exposure in the absence of full ATR activity. Therefore, ATR acts to protect stalled replication forks during hypoxia exposure. In conclusion, ATR and Chk1 play critical roles in the cellular response to hypoxia/reoxygenation, and inhibitors of ATR and Chk1 represent new hypoxic cell cytotoxins.
ATM and ATR are stress-response kinases which respond to a variety of insults including ionizing radiation, replication arrest, ultraviolet radiation and hypoxia/re-oxygenation. Hypoxia occupies a unique niche in the study of both ATR- and ATM-mediated checkpoint pathways. Hypoxia is a physiologically significant stress that occurs in virtually all solid tumors and differs from most other stresses in that it does not induce DNA damage. Previous studies have indicated that hypoxia provides a unique way to induce ATR in response to inhibition of DNA replication. During tumor expansion hypoxia is inevitably followed by periods ofre-oxygenation which in vitro has been shown to induce significant levels of DNAdamage and an ATM response. Therefore both ATR and ATM have a role to play in hypoxia/re-oxygenation.
Severe levels of hypoxia (oxygen concentrations of less that 0.02%) have been shown to induce a rapid S-phase arrest. The mechanism behind hypoxia-induced S-phase arrest is unclear, we show here that it was not mediated by a shortage of nucleosides and was not dependent on p53, p21 or Hif 1alpha status. The drugs aphidicolin and hydroxyurea both induce rapid replication arrest and have been used throughout the literature to study the ATR-mediated response to stalled replication. We have shown previously that hypoxia induces ATR-dependent phosphorylation of p53, Chk1 and histone H2AX. Using comet-assays to detect DNA-damage we found that both aphidicolin and hydroxyurea induced significant levels of DNA-damage while hypoxia did not. Here we show that like aphidicolin and hydroxyurea, hypoxia induces phosphorylation of Nbs1 at serine 343 and Rad17serine 645. Hypoxia-dependent phosphorylation of Nbs1 and Rad17 was ATM-independent and therefore likely to be a result of the ATR kinase activity. In contrast, p53 was phosphorylated differentially in response to the three treatments considered here. p53 was phosphorylated at serine 15 in response to all three treatments but was only phosphorylated at serine 20 in response to thedrug treatments. We propose that treatment with either aphidicolin or hydroxyurea leads to not only replication arrest but also DNA-damage and therefore both ATM and ATR-mediated signaling. In contrast replication arrest induced by severe hypoxia is sensed exclusively through ATR, with ATM only having a role to play after re-oxygenation.
ATR/ATM targets are phosphorylated by ATR in response to hypoxia and ATM in response to reoxygenation.
The ATR kinase phosphorylates both p53 and Chk1 in response to extreme hypoxia (oxygen concentrations of less than 0.02%). In contrast to ATR, loss of ATM doesnot affect the phosphorylation of these or other targets in response to hypoxia.However, hypoxia within tumors is often transient and is inevitably followed by reoxygenation. We hypothesized that ATR activity is induced under hypoxic conditions because of growth arrest and ATM activity increases in response to the oxidative stress of reoxygenation. Using the comet assay to detect DNA damage, we find that reoxygenation induced significant amounts of DNA damage. Two ATR/ATM targets, p53 serine 15 and histone H2AX, were both phosphorylated in response tohypoxia in an ATR-dependent manner. These phosphorylations were then maintained in response to reoxygenation-induced DNA damage in an ATM-dependent manner. The reoxygenation-induced p53 serine 15 phosphorylation was inhibited by the addition of N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC), indicating that free radical-induced DNA damage was mediated by reactive oxygen species. Taken together these data implicate both ATR and ATM as critical roles in the response of hypoxia and reperfusion in solid tumors.
Previous studies have demonstrated that phosphorylation of human p53 on serine 15 contributes to protein stabilization after DNA damage and that this is mediated by the ATM family of kinases. However, cellular exposure to hypoxia does not induce any detectable level of DNA lesions compared to ionizing radiation, and the oxygen dependency of p53 protein accumulation differs from that of HIF-1, the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor. Here we show that, under severe hypoxic conditions, p53 protein accumulates only in S phase and this accumulation correlates with replication arrest. Inhibition of ATR kinase activity substantially reduces hypoxia-induced phosphorylation of p53 protein on serine 15 as well as p53 protein accumulation. Thus, hypoxia-induced cell growth arrest istightly linked to an ATR-signaling pathway that is required for p53 modificationand accumulation. These studies indicate that the ATR kinase plays an important role during tumor development in responding to hypoxia-induced replication arrest, and hypoxic conditions could select for the loss of key components of ATR-dependent checkpoint controls.
Hypoxia within solid tumors is a major determinant of outcome after anticancer therapy. Analysis of gene expression changes during hypoxia indicated that unfolded protein response genes were one of the most robustly induced groups of genes. In this study, we investigated the hypoxic regulation of X-box binding protein (XBP1), a major transcriptional regulator of the unfolded protein response. Hypoxia induced XBP1 at the transcriptional level and activated splicing of its mRNA, resulting in increased levels of activated XBP1 protein. After exposure to hypoxia, apoptosis increased and clonogenic survival decreasedin XBP1-deficient cells. Loss of XBP1 severely inhibited tumor growth due to a reduced capacity for these transplanted tumor cells to survive in a hypoxic microenvironment. Taken together, these studies directly implicate XBP1 as an essential survival factor for hypoxic stress and tumor growth.
Hypoxia actively represses transcription by inducing negative cofactor 2 (Dr1/DrAP1) and blocking preinitiation complex assembly.
Hypoxia is a growth inhibitory stress associated with multiple disease states. We find that hypoxic stress actively regulates transcription not only by activationof specific genes but also by selective repression. We reconstituted this bimodal response to hypoxia in vitro and determined a mechanism for hypoxia-mediated repression of transcription. Hypoxic cell extracts are competent for transcript elongation, but cannot assemble a functional preinitiation complex (PIC) at a subset of promoters. PIC assembly and RNA polymerase II C-terminal domain (CTD) phosphorylation were blocked by hypoxic induction and core promoter binding of negative cofactor 2 protein (NC2 alpha/beta, Dr1/DrAP1). Immunodepletion of NC2 beta/Dr1 protein complexes rescued hypoxic-repressed transcription without alteration of normoxic transcription. Physiological regulation of NC2 activity may represent an active means of conserving energy in response to hypoxic stress.
Human DNA polymerase beta initiates DNA synthesis during long-patch repair of reduced AP sites in DNA.
Simple base damages are repaired through a short-patch base excision pathway where a single damaged nucleotide is removed and replaced. DNA polymerase beta (Pol beta) is responsible for the repair synthesis in this pathway and also removes a 5'-sugar phosphate residue by catalyzing a beta-elimination reaction. How ever, some DNA lesions that render deoxyribose resistant to beta-eliminationare removed through a long-patch repair pathway that involves strand displacement synthesis and removal of the generated flap by specific endonuclease. Three human DNA polymerases (Pol beta, Pol delta and Pol epsilon) have been proposed to playa role in this pathway, however the identity of the polymerase involved and the polymerase selection mechanism are not clear. In repair reactions catalyzed by cell extracts we have used a substrate containing a reduced apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) site resistant to beta-elimination and inhibitors that selectively affect different DNA polymerases. Using this approach we find that in human cell extracts Pol beta is the major DNA polymerase incorporating the first nucleotideduring repair of reduced AP sites, thus initiating long-patch base excision repair synthesis.
DNA polymerase beta is the major dRP lyase involved in repair of oxidative base lesions in DNA by mammalian cell extracts.
The repair of oxidative base lesions in DNA is a coordinated chain of reactions that includes removal of the damaged base, incision of the phosphodiester backbone at the abasic sugar residue, incorporation of an undamaged nucleotide and sealing of the DNA strand break. Although removal of a damaged base in mammalian cells is initiated primarily by a damage-specific DNA glycosylase, several lyases and DNA polymerases may contribute to the later stages of repair.DNA polymerase beta (Pol beta) was implicated recently as the major polymerase involved in repair of oxidative base lesions; however, the identity of the lyaseparticipating in the repair of oxidative lesions is unclear. We studied the mechanism by which mammalian cell extracts process DNA substrates containing a single 8-oxoguanine or 5,6-dihydrouracil at a defined position. We find that, when repair synthesis proceeds through a Pol beta-dependent single nucleotide replacement mechanism, the 5'-deoxyribosephosphate lyase activity of Pol beta isessential for repair of both lesions.
Repair of clustered DNA lesions. Sequence-specific inhibition of long-patch base excision repair be 8-oxoguanine.
Ionizing radiation induces clustered DNA damage where two or more lesions are located proximal to each other on the same or opposite DNA strands. It has been suggested that individual lesions within a cluster are removed sequentially and that the presence of a vicinal lesion(s) may affect the rate and fidelity of DNArepair. In this study, we addressed the question of how 8-oxoguanine located opposite to normal or reduced abasic sites would affect the repair of these sites by the base excision repair system. We have found that an 8-oxoguanine located opposite to an abasic site does not affect either the efficiency or fidelity of repair synthesis by DNA polymerase beta. In contrast, an 8-oxoguanine located one nucleotide 3'-downstream of the abasic site significantly reduces both strand displacement synthesis supported by DNA polymerase beta or delta and cleavage byflap endonuclease of the generated flap, thus inhibiting the long-patch base excision repair pathway.
Mode of inhibition of short-patch base excision repair by thymine glycol within clustered DNA lesions.
Clustered DNA damage, where two or more lesions are located proximally to each other, is frequently induced by ionizing radiation. Individual base lesions within a cluster are repaired by base excision repair. In this study we addressed the question of how thymine glycol (Tg) within a cluster would affect the repairof opposing lesions by human cell extracts. We have found that Tg located opposite to an abasic site does not affect cleavage of this site by apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) endonuclease. However, Tg significantly compromised the next step of the repair. Although purified DNA polymerase beta was able to incorporate the correct nucleotide (dAMP) opposite to Tg, the rate of incorporation was reduced by 3-fold. Tg does not affect 5'-sugar phosphate removal by the 2-deoxyribose-5-phosphate (dRP) lyase activity of DNA polymerase beta, but further processing of the strand break by purified DNA ligase III was slightly diminished. In agreement with these findings, although an AP site located opposite to Tg was efficiently incised in human cell extract, only a limited amount of fully repaired product was observed, suggesting that such clustered DNA lesions may have a significantly increased lifetime in human cellscompared with similar single-standing lesions.
X-ray repair cross-complementing protein-1 (XRCC1)-deficient cells are sensitiveto DNA damaging agents and have delayed processing of DNA base lesions. In support of its role in base excision repair, it was found that XRCC1 forms a tight complex with DNA ligase IIIalpha and also interacts with DNA polymerase beta (Pol beta) and other base excision repair (BER) proteins. We have isolated wild-type XRCC1-DNA ligase IIIalpha heterodimer and mutated XRCC1-DNA ligase IIIalpha complex that does not interact with Pol beta and tested their activities in BER reconstituted with human purified proteins. We find that a point mutationin the XRCC1 protein which disrupts functional interaction with Pol beta, affected the ligation efficiency of the mutant XRCC1-DNA ligase IIIalpha heterodimer in reconstituted BER reactions. We also compared sensitivity to hydrogen peroxide between wild-type CHO-9 cells, XRCC1-deficient EM-C11 cells and EM-C11 cells transfected with empty plasmid vector or with plasmid vector carrying wild-type or mutant XRCC1 gene and find that the plasmid encoding XRCC1protein, that does not interact with Pol beta has reduced ability to rescue the hydrogen peroxide sensitivity of XRCC1- deficient cells. These data suggest an important role for the XRCC1-Pol beta interaction for coordinating the efficiency of the BER process.
DNA strand breaks containing 3'-phosphoglycolate (3'-PG) ends are the major lesions induced by ionizing radiation. The repair of this lesion is not completely understood and several activities are thought to be involved in processing of 3'-PG ends. In this study we examined activities in human whole cell extracts (WCE) responsible for removal of 3'-PG. Using a radiolabelled oligonucleotide containing a single nucleotide gap with internal 5'-phosphate and 3'-PG ends, we demonstrate that the major 3'-PG activity in human WCE is Mg2+ dependent and that this activity co-purifies with AP endonuclease 1 (APE1) over phosphocellulose and gel filtration chromatography. Furthermore, immunodepletionof APE1 from active gel filtration fractions using APE1 specific antibodies reveals that the major activity against 3'-PG in human WCE is APE1.
In mammalian cells, DNA ligase IIIalpha and DNA ligase I participate in the short- and long-patch base excision repair pathways, respectively. Using an in vitro repair assay employing DNA ligase-depleted cell extracts and DNA substrates containing a single lesion repaired either through short-patch (regular abasic site) or long-patch (reduced abasic site) base excision repair pathways, we addressed the question whether DNA ligases are specific to each pathway or if they are exchangeable. We find that immunodepletion of DNA ligase I did not affect the short-patch repair pathway but blocked long-patch repair, suggesting that DNA ligase IIIalpha is not able to substitute DNA ligase I during long-patch repair. In contrast, immunodepletion of DNA ligase IIIalpha did not significantly affect either pathway. Moreover, repair of normal abasic sites in wild-type and X-ray cross-complementing gene 1 (XRCC1)-DNA ligase IIIalpha-immunodepleted cellextracts involved similar proportions of short- and long-patch repair events. This suggests that DNA ligase I was able to efficiently substitute the XRCC1-DNAligase IIIalpha complex during short-patch repair.
Base excision repair (BER), responsible for the removal of altered DNA bases, isaccomplished via two pathways that involve different subsets of repair enzymes and result in removal and replacement of one (short-patch BER) or several (long-patch BER) nucleotides. In this study, we constructed single-lesion containing DNA substrates that are predominantly repaired via one of the two pathways and investigated the fidelity of pathway specific repair in human wholecell extracts. We find that a single nucleotide deletion generated during addition of the first nucleotide into the repair gap is the major mutation characteristic for both pathways. This data suggest that for both BER pathways, mutations generated during repair in human whole cell extracts are principally the result of a slippage of DNA polymerase during initiation of repair synthesis.
Stress-activated protein kinase pathway functions to support protein synthesis and translational adaptation in response to environmental stress in fission yeast.
The stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK) pathway plays a central role in coordinating gene expression in response to diverse environmental stress stimuli. We examined the role of this pathway in the translational response to stress in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Exposing wild-type cells to osmotic stress (KCl) resulted in a rapid but transient reduction in protein synthesis. Protein synthesis was further reduced in mutants disrupting the SAPK pathway, including the mitogen-activated protein kinase Wis1 or the mitogen-activated protein kinase Spc1/Sty1, suggesting a role for these stress response factors in this translational control. Further polysome analyses revealed a role for Spc1 in supporting translation initiation during osmotic stress, and additionally in facilitating translational adaptation. Exposure to oxidative stress (H2O2) resulted in a striking reduction in translation initiation in wild-type cells, which was further reduced in spc1- cells. Reduced translation initiation correlated with phosphorylation of the alpha subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2alpha) in wild-type cells. Disruption of Wis1 or Spc1 kinase or the downstream bZip transcription factors Atf1 and Pap1 resulted in a marked increase in eIF2alpha phosphorylation which was dependent on the eIF2alpha kinases Hri2 and Gcn2. These findings suggest a role for the SAPK pathway in supporting translation initiation and facilitating adaptation to environmental stress in part through reducing eIF2alpha phosphorylation in fission yeast.
The cell cycles of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe are currently the best understood of all eukaryotes. Studies in these two evolutionarily divergent organisms have identified common control mechanisms, which have provided paradigms for our understanding of the eukaryotic cell cycle. This chapter provides an overview ofour current knowledge of the molecules and mechanisms that regulate the mitotic cell cycle in these two yeasts.
A coordinated transcriptional response to DNA-damaging agents is required to maintain genome stability. We have examined the global gene expression responsesof the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe to ionizing radiation (IR) by using DNA microarrays. We identified approximately 200 genes whose transcript levels were significantly altered at least twofold in response to 500 Gy of gamma IR in a temporally defined manner. The majority of induced genes were core environmental stress response genes, whereas the remaining genes define a transcriptional response to DNA damage in fission yeast. Surprisingly, few DNA repair and checkpoint genes were transcriptionally modulated in response to IR. We define a role for the stress-activated mitogen-activated protein kinase Sty1/Spc1 and the DNA damage checkpoint kinase Rad3 in regulating core environmental stress response genes and IR-specific response genes, both independently and in concert. These findings suggest a complex network of regulatory pathways coordinate gene expression responses to IR in eukaryotes.
We have examined the genetic requirements for efficient repair of a site-specific DNA double-strand break (DSB) in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Tech nology was developed in which a unique DSB could be generated in a non-essential minichromosome, Ch(16), using the Saccharomyces cerevisiae HO-endonuclease and its target site, MATa. DSB repair in this context was predominantly through interchromosomal gene conversion. We found that the homologous recombination (HR) genes rhp51(+), rad22A(+), rad32(+) and the nucleotide excision repair gene rad16(+) were required for efficient interchromosomal gene conversion. Further, DSB-induced cell cycle delay and efficient HR required the DNA integrity checkpoint gene rad3(+). Rhp55 was required for interchromosomal gene conversion; however, an alternative DSB repair mechanism was used in an rhp55Delta background involving ku70(+) and rhp51(+). Surprisingly, DSB-induced minichromosome loss was significantly reduced in ku70Delta and lig4Delta non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) mutant backgrounds compared with wild type. Furthermore, roles for Ku70 and Lig4 were identified in suppressing DSB-induced chromosomal rearrangements associated with gene conversion. These findings are consistent with both competitive and cooperative interactions between components of the HR and NHEJ pathways.